Lantapan to build trading center for veggies

LANTAPAN, Bukidnon  (MindaNews/14 July) —  Lantapan, the “vegetable basket of Northern Mindanao” will soon have its own “bagsakan” (trading center) to ensure farmers earn more.

Inset Map Courtesy of Wikipedia.Lantapan mayor Godofredo Balansag told MindaNews Tuesday Lantapan will soon build its P1.7 million vegetable “bagsakan” on its public market site.

The town’s bestsellers are broccoli and tomato.

Farmers have never complained, he said, but they have been disadvantaged by the power imposed by middlemen who buy the vegetables at a low price and sell it at higher cost.

“We want to control the price. We want to do away with middle marketers. They shall buy at our prices here,” Balansag said told MindaNews in an interview.

Presently Lantapan farmers pay for the cost of transporting their products to Cagayan de Oro where they are at the mercy of traders there.

Balansag said the Central Mindanao University is helping the municipal government in its initiatives for vegetable farmers.

Jumar Merla, senior specialist at the Department of Trade and Industry Bukidnon said CMU conducted a value chain analysis of the vegetable industry in Lantapan.

One of the findings, he said, was that the farmers develop very slowly compared to the traders.

He said the “bagsakan” is only one of the actions being taken to address the results of the value chain study.

Merla said the town will be holding a Vegetable Forum on July 29 to gather sellers, buyers, and financial institutions.

Sound financing opportunities, Merla said, is among the steps that could be taken. He cited the desire of most farmers to break away from the present scheme where the traders become financiers of the farmers

The initiatives to help farmers include consolidation of the farmers patterned after the success of the Northern Mindanao Vegetable Producers Association. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)