Davao building display center for local farmers, handicraft makers

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/23 February) – A one-stop souvenir and agricultural products display center catering to small-scale farmers and handicraft makers will soon rise along the Davao-Bukidnon national highway in Barangay Baganihan, Marilog district before the year ends, an official said.

City Agriculture Office chief Leonardo Avila said the Baganihan Agri-Products Display Center will also feature a coffee shop to cater to travelers and tourists alike.

The site is 79 kilometers from the city proper.

Avila said some 60 families of farmers and handicraft makers in the village, will primarily benefit from the display center as as it will enable them to showcase their plants and handicrafts.

“Travelers may stop here for a coffee break, snacks or lunch. Then while some are having snacks, some can also check some botanical plants and some home decors made by our local farmers,” he said.

The site was provided by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) while the Department of Agriculture (DA) has allotted a P3-million financial assistance for the project.

P2 million will be spent for the construction of the structure and the remaining P1 million on operations, he said.

“The priority are the local farmers from Marilog. Unless there are some outsiders who have some products that are exceptional and not available or not produced by the local farmers, we will welcome them,” Avila said, adding the local farmers do not have to pay rent for the stalls.

Part of the preparation, he said, is the development of high value crops such as strawberries grown by local farmers since these can adapt to the climatic condition in the area.

Currently, the City Agriculture Office and the Baganihan Agri-Ventures Cooperative owned by local farmers are running a 1,200-square meter strawberry demo farm.

“The success of the technology in this demo farm will be shared to the local farmers,” Avila said.

Marilog district sits at least 1,200 meters above seal level making it suitable to some high-value crops that only thrive in high elevations.

The city government has signed a memorandum of agreement with the DA and DENR on the project.

The construction started early this year and is expected to be completed before the year ends.

Avila said the site may also serve as a tourist information center because Mariliog District has several tourist destinations such as caves and waterfalls. He said some indigenous peoples in the area are already trained to serve as tour guides.

“We are also eying a homestay program for the tourists who would want to enjoy the beauty of nature in the district. Although some tourists may also pitch their tents if they want to stay in some parts of the forested area or camping sites,” he said. (Keith Bacongco/MindaNews)