DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 July) — The city council passed on third and final reading Monday a resolution allowing the city mayor to sign in behalf of the local government a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on the establishment of a trading center with the Department of Agriculture-XI.
The city government is eyeing to start work on the five-hectare Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (APTC) in Daliao, Toril on September 8 this year.
Councilor Marissa P. Salvador-Abella, chair of the committee on agriculture and food, told reporters Tuesday that the city council is working for the MOA to be signed between Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte and DA-XI director Remelyn Recoter before end of this month.
DA XI will fund the construction of the trading center which has an estimated budget of P70 million.
“DA 11 will allocate and disburse the same fund as grant under fund transfer arrangement to the City Government for the establishment of the center,” paragraph 2, Article 1 of the MOA stated.
Earlier, the city government signed a MOA with the National Development Corporation (NDC) for the use of at least five hectares of its 25-hectare property in Daliao, Toril for 15 years.
Aside from the trading venue, the city government will also put up a training area for farmers to learn the best practices in agriculture and how to maintain quality in their production.
“We will have a demo farm so that farmers will learn how to compete globally,” Abells said.
The center will also hold trainings on financial literacy and capacity-building for farmers to improve their knowledge on doing business.
Abella said the trading center will boost the agriculture sector, as it will provide a centralized venue where all the fruits and vegetables go while giving farmers a fair price for their produce.
The APTC will come complete with cold storage facilities to maintain the freshness and quality of the commodities.
The center will also eliminate the participation of middlemen in the trading of agricultural products, as all transactions at the center will have to be made by accredited farmers.
“Our focus for this center is the farmers,” Abella said, adding the city will pay them for their produce.
By putting up a centralized trading venue, all private markets in the city will have to get their supply of fruits and vegetables from the center.
Abella said farmers will be required to lessen the use of pesticides, or if possible, go organic.
The center aims to harmonize the relationships between the farmers and the buyers/consumers by increasing farmers’ income and reduce the retail and consumer prices of vegetables, fruits, and other food crops.
Fresh supplies from Kapatagan, Digos City and Bukidnon will be delivered straight to APTC from where the proposed barangay food terminals get their fresh fruits and vegetables.
Under the MOA, Abella pointed out the city government will select the management board who will oversee the operation.
The first phase of APTC is targeted to be completed by December 2016.
Abella added the city is hoping to receive another P70 million from DA XI for the project’s second phase. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)