KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/9 Aug) – Tourists visiting South Cotabato will soon experience the abundance of fruits, flowers and vegetables in just one stop as the municipal government of Tupi is pushing for the establishment of the P40-million Tupi Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Park.
The local government has set aside an initial budget of P4 million as a start-up fund for the pavement of the proposed site and for the construction of 15 to 20 stalls which will be positioned in a linear arrangement, according to the Provincial Engineering Department presentation of the concept development plan and arrangement.
Tupi Mayor Reynaldo Tamayo is speeding up the building of the investment park after he approved a local policy that vendors along national highway are no longer allowed to sell their products.
Considering the plight of the vendors, the municipal government decided to construct the park-cum-tourist stop the soonest possible time to gather fruit, flower and vegetable vendors in one area, creating a “bagsakan” or a selling point
During the meeting of the Technical Working Group, Vice Gov. Elmo Tolosa confirmed the P1-million financial assistance of the provincial government as a preliminary support to Tupi.
Danilo de Guzman, chief of the Office of the Municipal Agriculture, said that the remaining P3 million will be sourced from the Department of Agriculture as the LGU is re-applying for the financial package intended for the project.
Meanwhile, a lot intended for the project is being offered by the Department of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (DARBC) with a proposal of P30,000 per hectare rental scheme.
There is now a proposal for a two-story building with amenities and a viewing deck for would be visitors, function rooms, restaurants, 272-seat picnic area and a parking lot that can accommodate 64 vehicles, all in a 20,000-sq.m. area.
The agri-investment park, which construction will be made by phase, is intended to accommodate 175 stalls.
“There’s a necessity to invite and entice financing partners, both from the public and private sectors of the locality,” Tolosa said.
Alandra Alcantara, president of the Fruit Vendors Association, extended their willingness to do business in the proposed park but appealed to increase the number of stalls to accommodate their members.
The Tupi Rural Fruit Vendor’s Association, on the other hand, also accepted the invitation to display their products but pleaded for a lower rental fee.
But a business feasibility study conducted by the Notre Dame Business Resource Center noted that the main sources of income like stall, function room and restaurant rentals, comfort rooms, and entrance to the viewing deck could not compensate for the capital for at least five years.
Tolosa, however, is positive that the government will win private partnerships and is looking forward to more business associates investing in the project. (MindaNews)