ILOILO CITY – Members of the Male Farmers’ Association in Tubungan town in Iloilo underwent training on quality assurance and marketing operations for the recently completed Bayanihan Tipon Center (BTC) on Dec. 3, 2018.
The BTC is a P2,134,000-worth marketing structure funded under the Panay Island Upland Sustainable Rural Development Project (PIU-SRDP) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Office 6 and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
With this marketing aid, Tubungan farmers are encouraged to produce more high quality vegetables and upland crops for their sustainable local food system and livelihood source.
Ian Calibara of the DA High Value Crops Development Program explained to the farmers the proper postharvest handling practices for vegetables which shall be employed in order to ensure quality produce. Calibara urged farmers to strengthen their organic farming and adoption of Good
Agricultural Practices so they can meet the standard requirement of their institutional buyers.
Meanwhile, the association’s marketing and management plans were presented and assessed by the panel of judges—Engr. Gerry Lete of the DA marketing division, Isabel Blancia of the National Economic and Development Authority, and Dr. Yoon Haejin, KOICA consultant.
“Brgy. Male is 4.5 kilometers away from the town proper and is 46.5 kilometers from Iloilo City. It has 33 members and is being chaired by Antonio Tabafa Sr. The [BTC] project here will serve as a primary marketing hub for farmers’ produce from the 16 upland barangays. Majority of the farmers in this cluster are producing banana, squash, tomato, eggplant, papaya, and kamote,” said municipal agriculturist Elena Tanque.
As the marketing partner, the Male Farmers’ Association shall employ intensive quality management and inspection of all agri-products delivered in the center to ensure consistency and value of products to meet the buyers’ demands.
“All we have to do now is to work together so we can improve this facility further and we can help in the marketing of the products of our farmers here in Tubungan. We have enough space to plant vegetables and enough manpower to produce the food for our community needs and even for those who are outside this town,” said municipal mayor Vicente Gargaritano Jr.
The local government unit (LGU) of Tubungan, as the managing partner, has provided the lot as counterpart for the establishment of the BTC. For several years, the local government has been providing marketing support to its farmers particularly the organic producers with its Municipal Organic Food Depot.
“We are already supplying the vegetable requirements of major malls in Iloilo City and other local markets in the province,” said Tanque.
Tubungan is among the 10 selected LGU beneficiaries for the third phase implementation of PIU-SRDP along with the municipalities of Alimodian and Lambunao in Iloilo; Libacao and Madalag in Aklan; Patnongon, Sebaste and Tobias Fornier in Antique; and Jamindan and Tapaz in Capiz province. Meanwhile, the Regional Local Food Terminal is being constructed in San Miguel, Iloilo.
As a special project of DA, the PIU-SRDP started in 2015 and it is now on its third phase which aims to create an integrated local agri-product marketing framework with financial facility under a public-private partnership. (Sheila Mae H. Toreno/ DA-RAFIS 6)