GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 8 Feb) – Development works are expected to start this year for the proposed Soccsksargen Integrated Food Terminal (IFT) and economic zone in Tupi town, South Cotabato province.
South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. said Monday the Department of Agriculture (DA) central office has signified to support the implementation of the multimillion project, which is aimed to further develop the region’s agriculture sector.
He said Agriculture Secretary William Dar endorsed the project during its formal presentation in a meeting in Koronadal City Friday night.
The agency allotted an initial funding of P23 million this year for the construction of a modern cold storage and seed storage facility as part of the development of the regional IFT complex, he said.
This is on top of the P351-million funding earmarked by DA for the implementation of various support programs and projects in the province this year.
“The project will provide better opportunities for our farmers and expand the economic activities in the area as well,” Tamayo said in his state-of-the-province address.
The provincial government started to push in late 2019 for the establishment of the IFT, which is eyed to become the main drop-off point of agriculture products from parts or Region 12 and neighboring areas.
It allotted an initial two hectares in Tupi as site of a cold storage facility to support the operations of the food terminal.
Tamayo said the IFT complex, which is planned to become an economic zone, will provide sites for locators such as processing, storage and manufacturing plants.
He said farmers that would deliver their produce to the facility will have the option to sell them directly to the locators, have them processed to add value or temporarily store them while waiting for higher buying prices.
The governor said they chose Tupi, where he had served as mayor, as site of the IFT complex due to its proximity to the markets as well as the airport and the seaports here, and being at the center of major access and bypass road networks being developed in the area.
He specifically cited the ongoing construction and upgrading of the bypass road between Tupi and Banga town in the province’s upper valley area.
Tamayo said another diversion road is being constructed traversing Columbio town in Sultan Kudarat and Tampakan in South Cotabato that eventually leads to Tupi.
Those coming from Tacurong City and other areas in Sultan Kudarat may later use the planned circumferential road passing Barangay Tinongcop in Tantangan, South Cotabato and Carpenter Hill in Koronadal City, he said.
He said these road networks are intended to decongest traffic in Koronadal City, the regional seat and center of Soccsksargen.
“All these roads will either end up or pass by Tupi so it the most viable site to put up the IFT,” Tamayo said. (MindaNews)