Farmers in Mindanao and Benguet are now trading partners
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said farmers from Mindanao and Cordillera have agreed to start a trading arrangement which will see bananas, pomelos, pineapple, fish and meat from Mindanao delivered to La Trinidad while strawberries, potatoes, carrots and other high-value vegetables will be transported to the South.
The trading arrangement— similar to the barter trade of old Filipinos years back— was forged by farmers groups from both during the successful TienDA sa Cordillera last week.
Farmer-leader Eclesiastes Roque, Jr., whose cooperative is engaged in the delivery of Lacatan Bananas to Luzon, said his group will initially consolidate fruits which will be delivered to the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) for distribution to Cordillera markets.
On the way back, the refrigerated vans will be loaded with strawberries, potatoes, carrots and other high value vegetables, which are needed in Samar, Leyte, Caraga Region, Davao and Central Mindanao.
Roque, as cited by Piñol, said the trading arrangement will start as soon as his group acquires on lease at least six units of refrigerated vans to ensure that the products arrive in both destinations fresh with very little damage.
He said food items to be shipped to the Cordillera would later include fish and other marine products from the fishing grounds of Mindanao.
The TienDA sa Cordillera is an advocacy program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to connect farmers with consumers directly so that farmers and fishermen will enjoy a good price for their produce while consumers will have access to affordable food items.