Trading center spurs progress in Sultan Kudarat

But those days receded into history, a new trading center was recently built adjacent to the municipal slaughterhouse. The project was a collaborative effort among the municipal and barangay officials of Isulan and Barangay Upper Dansuli, and USAID’s Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program, which is implemented under the supervision of the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo).

The 10 by 18-meter trading facility can accommodate more traders and farmers, from Upper Dansuli and the neighboring barangays and municipalities than the older facility. GEM is working with local governments and cooperatives throughout conflict-affected areas of Mindanao to construct 800 small infrastructure projects by August, 2007.

“Now, farmers don’t have to waste their time going from place to place to sell their livestock, which entailed much of their time and money for transportation expense,” declared Elias Sigura, Isulan’s municipal planning and development coordinator.

With the new trading center, business has increased, as prospective buyers from other areas now come to buy livestock animals, Sigura added. The facility is more appealing, and cleaner, and the process is more systematic, with specific trading area for cattle, goats, poultry, and other livestock animals.  “The new facility has really been a great help, as previously there was no organized system of trading,” Sigura noted further.

The trading center has also generated additional revenues for the local government, as the latter  collects modest fees from those who use it. The fees are utilized to maintain and operate the facility, and for other community development projects in Upper Dansuli, which is home to 3,100 farmers and their families.  As with other small infrastructure projects constructed by GEM, this center has not only enhanced economic activities, but also promoted closer ties among neighboring barangays and municipalities.   (Growth with Equity in Mindanao Program)