Ilocos Norte farmers’ income are projected to expand by around 15 to 25 percent once the PHP30-million agritrading center in Barangay Billoca, Batac City becomes operational by August this year.
“Farmers income may increase from 15 to 25 percent and (the project is expected to) provide consumers with high quality products by implementing an efficient marketing and information
system, reducing the involvement of traders and middlemen and allowing farmers to negotiate for a better price,” the Department of Agriculture (DA) said in briefer for the DAfunded infrastructure project.

The pioneering trading hub, which broke ground on Wednesday in the 1,312.50- square-meter lot near the Batac City public market, will be jointly managed by the Ilocos Norte government and the city government of Batac. “Farmers will prosper if there is a well-functioning trading post. Middlemen should be eliminated to promote farmer to-buyer relationships,” said John Lei Ganiron, a farmerengineer, supervisor of Romaine Organics, and who pioneered the automated hydroponics technology by growing lettuce and other high-value crops.

William Baniaga, a farmerentrepreneur from Vintar town, said the trading post is a welcome development for farmers since they do not have to travel far to market their products. He said farmers will become more market-driven in their approach when they consolidate their production and market in one place. Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc, during the ceremonial groundbreaking of the first agritrading center in the province, said the project will only be successful if farmers are protected, served and prioritized. “This is just the start. All eyes are on us and in Batac so let us make sure that this will work for the ultimate benefit of our farmers,” he said.

(Leilanie Adriano/PNA)

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