Village food terminals pushed in Region

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/17 November) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 12 is pushing for the establishment of more barangay food terminals (BFT) in the area in a bid to enhance the market prospects for local agricultural crops and products.

Amalia Jayag-Datukan, DA-12 executive director, said they continually support the implementation of the BFT program in the region and plans are underway for its expansion to other farming areas and communities.

“We’re establishing the BFTs to provide viable market alternatives for our farmers,” she said.

Region 12,which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Earlier this month, Datukan said the agency showcased the produce of six BFTs in the region during the 1st National Agri-Tourism/Food Terminal Congress and Trade Exhibit that was held in Baguio City.

She said among the top local products that were featured in the trade exhibit were chinese pomelo, virgin coconut oil and “bucayo” (sweetened coconut strips) of Barangay Kabulacan in Matalam, North Cotabato; mangoosteen, mango and chinese pomelo of Barangay Doles in Magpet, North Cotabato; chicaron, banana chips, durian tart, polvoron, pastillas, tablea and calamansi concentrate of Barangays Luhong and New Pontevedra in Antipas, North Cotabato; banana vinegar of Barangay Lebe in Kiamba, Sarangani; dried and marinated flying fish or bangsi, corn and rice coffee, salted eggs and herbal tea of Barangay Old Poblacion in Maitum, Sarangani; and, durian of Barangay Palkan in Polomolok, South Cotabato.
Datukan said the salted eggs of Barangay Old Poblacion in Maitum was a big hit during the event as they were produced through organic processes that eventually resulted to their yellowish color.
She said the region’s BFT exhibitors earned around P18,000 in total sales during the event, which was joined by BFTs from various parts of the country.
Aside from participating in the exhibit, BFT operators from the region joined study tours and visits to BFTs in Benguet province.
Datukan said the DA central office launched the event to help build up the tourism potentials of various rural areas in the country through agriculture.
She added that the agency mainly wants to promote the top quality agricultural products of BFT areas and other local farming communities as additional attraction for tourists. (Allen V. Estabillo)