Issue of December 21, 2014

64th Courier Anniversary Issue
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Trading Post’s absorption by DA opposed
by Jimmy K. Laking

Benguet Board Member Florence B. Tingboaen last week warned against a proposal to transfer the La Trinidad Trading Post to the Agri-Pinoy facility, saying it would result in the dislocation of households.

“A lot of housewives and even students who rely on the trading post for income and sustenance will be affected,” she said.

She said the presence of the trading post in fact has been to the advantage of stakeholders by ensuring smooth flow of business.

“We should instead add, not lessen, facilities for trading and business,” said Tingbaoen, chair of the committee on agriculture.

The proposal to transfer the trading post to the Agri-Pinoy facility was among the proposed amendments to the memorandum of agreement governing the operation and management of the facility.

But stakeholders said the proposal was not a product of consultation with all sectors affected by the current trading post.

“It strikes us as suspicious to insist on transferring the trading post to the Agri-Pinoy without first consulting with those directly and indirectly affected by its operation,” lamented a business leader. “What is the hidden agenda?”

Considered a legacy to the vegetable industry, the trading post is credited for stabilizing prices as well as the flow of goods, providing leverage for Benguet farmers who used to be at the mercy of layers of middlemen.

The trading post is also believed to be the model of other establishments’ setup in other parts of the country.

Copies of the proposed amendments to the MOA were furnished the provincial board for study.

The original MOA was signed by the Department of Agriculture, the Benguet Congressional District Office, the Province of Benguet, the Municipality of La Trinidad, and the Benguet State University as primary stakeholders in the establishment of the Agri-Pinoy facility.

BSU President Ben Ladilad revealed that BSU will initially co-manage the facility in partnership with the DA upon completion.

He said the farmers’ cooperatives will eventually take over the operation and management of the facility.

Ladilad assured both the BSU and the DA have the expertise and people to manage the facility and to train the farmers’ cooperatives. He added the steering committee will still determine policy.

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