DA, KOICA build structures to boost Panay food sector

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) answered the needs of the upland farmers in the marketing of their products with the construction of one regional local food terminal (LFT) and 10 Bayanihan Tipon Centers (BTCs) in Panay.

The Panay Island Upland Sustainable Rural Development Project (PIU-SRDP) Phase 3 aims to provide a direct link between upland food producers and consumers.

According to Maria Teresa Solis, Third Phase project focal person, the LFT at Brgy. 8, San Miguel, Iloilo will open on Feb 7 to 8, 2019.

The final phase of PIU-SRDP focuses on the creation of the integrated local agri-product marketing framework with a financial facility under the public-private partnership for inclusive marketing system.

Meanwhile, 10 BTCs were put up in the municipalities of Libacao and Madalag in Aklan; Patnongon, Sebaste, and Tobias Fornier in Antique; Jamindan and Tapaz in Capiz; and Alimodian, Lambunao, and Tubungan in Iloilo. The Korean government had provided P35.59 million for the construction of one LFT and 10 BTCs from June to December 2018.

“These structures will serve as marketing hubs for all upland produce in the four provinces in Panay. We aim to intensify the production of upland agricultural commodities by assuring them of a steady and sustainable marketing system,” explained Solis.

The town of San Miguel, given its strategic location, was chosen as the site for the regional LFT which has a 450-square-meter area. On the other hand, the BTCs are smaller than the LFT. It only has 150 to 250-square-meter-area to cater the municipality and the neighboring towns.

The structures also include an office area and complete set of IT and marketing equipment in each project site.

As part of the project, the KOICA also offers an Agribusiness Financial Facility which can be accessed by the upland farmers particularly those who will operate the LFT and BTCs.

“The loanable amount will be used as working capital of the marketing partners in the procurement of local agri products, and also to fund their marketing activities and administrative expenses,” she added.

The marketing and financial partners, as well as the local government leaders involved, will convene for two days to present the activities and plans of the LFT and all BTCs. Aside from that, there will also be a seminar on product packaging and preparation workshop for the Local Food Festival and Trade Show in Iloilo City on March 1 to 2. (S. M. H. Toreno/DA-RAFIS 6)