Food terminal to bridge farmers and consumers

KOICA Country Director for Philippines Dr. Lee Sangback, economist Dr. Haejin Yoon, DA-6 Regional Executive Director Remelyn Recoter, and local chief executives of nearby towns lead the ribbon cutting of the ?11.8-million regional Local Food Terminal (LFT) which was inaugurated on February 7, 2019 in San Miguel, Iloilo. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo 

THROUGH the years, the gap between the farmers and the consumers has widened because of traders and middlemen.

Now, Panay upland farmers can sell their products directly to the consumers with the establishment of the regionwide Panay Local Food Center and Terminal in San Miguel, Iloilo.

The ?11.8-million regional Local Food Terminal (LFT), which was inaugurated on February 7, 2019, aims to improve the marketing system of the farmers especially in upland municipalities of the region.

Apart from the structure, the project also includes solar-powered cold storage facility with 12-cubic-meter capacity, office and training center, and delivery vehicles.

Ricardo Doce, president of the Federated Farmers Association of San Miguel, said that the project would help increase the income of local farmers.

“Ang purpose sina mabuligan gid ang farmers para indi na sila magastusan pangita buyers and pagka-harvest sang produce nila may sure buyer na sila and ang income ara na dayon,” he said.

For Jose Pepe Caoyonan, chairman of San Miguel Farmers’ Cooperative, the project will mean lesser expenses in transporting farm products to Iloilo City.

“Maka-menos ang farmers sa pagdala sang produkto sa siyudad kay sa transportation pa lang gasto na plus kargador plus sa pwesto pa nga butangan or stalls so damo gid ang ma-save nga income sang mga farmers,” he said.

The establishment of the LFT in San Miguel will also eliminate the problems on traders and middlemen who dictate the prices for the farmers, according to Maria Teresa Solis, Chief, Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division of DA-6.


“Kay usually ang mga traders ang naga-dictate sang price, sakit pa gid kon may utang ang farmers sa traders kay kon ano ang i-dictate nga price amo gid na ihatag sa ila,” she said.

The LFT is part of KOICA’s Panay Island Upland Sustainable Rural Development Project (PIU-SRDP) with the Department of Agriculture (DA) 6 which aims to empower upland communities by providing direct market link between food producers and consumers.

DA 6 Regional Executive Director Remelyn Recoter said the projects granted by KOICA in the region will solve the different marketing problems of farmers in Western Visayas.

“The third phase of PIU-SRDP responds to farmers’ marketing problem. Before the farmers’ products reach the consumers, it used to pass through several layers of traders and middlemen. Sadly, farmers have no control over the [farm gate] price for their crops,” she said.

The Panay Local Food Terminal constructed in San Miguel will serve as the regional consolidation hub for upland products from the different BTCs in Panay.

Meanwhile, KOICA and DA also put up Bayanihan Tipon Centers (BTCs in Libacao and Madalag in Aklan; Patnongon, Sebaste, and Tobias Fornier in Antique; Jamindan and Tapaz in Capiz; and Alimodian, Lambunao, and Tubungan in Iloilo.

Apart from these, KOICA also provided P20 million loan fund which can be used by different farmers’ groups and individual farmers for their marketing related activities as part of the component of PIU-SRDP.

According to Dr.Yoon Haejin of KOICA, Iloilo is the pilot for the project in the whole Philippines.

“Iloilo is a model project and this is the first time in the Philippines. With this kind of system, we hope that it can also be replicated to other areas in the Philippines,” he said.

By supporting consolidation centers like the local food terminals and the bayanihan centers, providing financial support to the farmers including vehicles and other marketing equipment and improving the capacity of farmers through trainings, Yoon hopes to increase the marketing capacity of Panay Upland Farmers.

“This project aims to increase marketing capacity of highland farmers. Before this project, farmers sell their product to middle man, now our farmers can sell their products directly to the consumers through our marketing ritual system, that’s the most important milestone for the farmers,” he noted.