DA helps upgrade NV trading center

The Department of Agriculture (DA) continues to pour in resources to hasten the establishment of agricultural trading centers in strategic areas nationwide to assist farm producers and consumers alike.

In Region II, the agri department has prioritized the upgrading of the Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal-Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (NVAT-APTC) with additional facilities worth ₱55.4 million in its 6.7-hectare complex.

With a counterpart fund of ₱16.2 million from the provincial government and ₱4.2 million from the NVAT, the DA has allotted ₱35 million for the paving of the NVAT-APTC road network and construction of cutflower retail store, organic fruits and vegetables retail center, wet market, animal auction market, windmill, washing, sorting and packing area, storage facility, and fruits and vegetables auction center.

Nueva Vizcaya Governor Ruth Padilla said that with the reforms the provincial government and the NVAT management have instituted, DA Secretary Proceso Alcala has endorsed the allotment of budget for the center’s upgrading.

The provincial government is a major stockholder of the NVAT as a corporation. Governor Padilla added that the NVAT-APTC has strengthened the province’s collaboration with the DA and other agricultural stakeholders.

As with other APTCs in the country, the NVAT-APTC aims to reduce the layer of middlemen to provide increased income to farmers. The center is also expected to create more jobs.

“With the new facilities, farmers in Nueva Vizcaya and from neighboring provinces will now have a permanent market where they may sell their produce in their own stalls with them doing most of the transactions themselves,” Alcala said.

The Secretary, however, stressed said that traders should not be considered as enemies in the agricultural trading system.

“We can have points of unity with traders. They are part of the spectrum of agricultural trade. We should get their demands as how we get the farmers’. We can have win-win opportunities both for traders and farmers as long as we dialogue,” Alcala stressed.

Secretary Alcala said that the improved NVAT-APTC will serve as monument and tribute to close cooperation of agricultural stakeholders in Nueva Vizcaya, the Cagayan Valley Region, and even the Cordilleras.

The Secretary said that the DA’s investment in the NVAT-APTC is worth the center’s outputs, highlighting the important role of Nueva Vizcaya and the NVAT-APTC in stabilizing vegetable supply when frosting is experienced in the Cordilleras. He added that the diversity of vegetable products from the center—both the “chopsuey” (upland) and “pinakbet” (lowland) vegetables—makes it a more reliable supply source.

Alcala requested the stakeholders to be patient with all the monitoring interventions because the government wants to ensure that all funds invested are well-spent and managed.

DA envisions APTCs to be the farmers’ trading center of choice, patronized by vendors and traders as a reliable venue for procuring quality produce at the best value, serving as a hub for timely and quality supply of farm inputs at reasonable prices, as well as capability building to increase farmer productivity and entrepreneurial management skills, among other services. ### (Jan P. Dacumos, DA-AFID)