Agri center, not replacing trading post

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Governor Nestor Fongwan clarified the still to be completed Agri Pinoy Center will not replace the Trading Post.

"They do not understand. The Agri Pinoy center is going to be a processing and packaging center, not a bagsakan center," Fongwan said.

Fongwan said the existing trading post at kilometer 5 must not be closed as it will complement the proposed P400-million agricultural facility backed by the Department of Agriculture. The Agri-Pinoy center aims to be a state-of-the-art trading, processing and marketing facility.


Agri-Pinoy Trading Center will serve one million farmers in Benguet. It will be situated in the former four-hectare La Trinidad strawberry fields of the Benguet State University in Betag.

“The Agri Pinoy center will handle packing and processing, and not become a full time trading post center,” the governor clarified.

The facility will house a modern spot trading area, warehousing and cold storage, commercial areas like cafeterias, lounges, dormitories, banks and cooperative offices, parking, administrative offices, and auxiliary support facilities like a solid waste treatment plant.

Fongwan said the present trading post cannot even accommodate 30 percent of vegetables needed to be traded.

“That is why we have private trading posts, to accommodate everyone,” he stressed.

Fongwan reminded the vegetable is one of the economic drivers of the province capital. “This is the industry which triggered the economy of the Valley, we must not forget that.”

Fongwan said sentiments on the closure of the trading post were relayed during the time of former mayor Greg Abalos and now, Mayor Edna Tabanda. “I have heard this, but I advise against it.”

The governor’s reaction came after pronouncements by La Trinidad Mayor Edna Tabanda on the eventual closure of the kilometer 5 trading post after the Agri-Pinoy Center rises.

The La Trinidad Trading Post was conceptualized during the time of former Mayor Hilarion Pawid giving local farmers a place to trade.
On the onset, trading was done anywhere, anytime and by anyone.
“I was mayor for 9 years and I have seen how the vegetable industry has spurred economy,” Fongwan said.

He shared when activity started at the trading post, businesses began to set up, making way for economy to pick up.

Formerly the trading post in the 80’s was used as a storage plant for a bottling company and a race track before it fulfilled its purpose as a trading center for farmers.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 10, 2014.

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