DOST, Benguet LGU unveil upgraded cold chain facility
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Department of Science and Technology and the provincial government of Benguet inaugurated the upgraded Benguet Cold Chain (BCC) with a newly installed packaging line and cold storage chambers on March 21 at Wangal in this capital town.
Gov. Melchor Diclas, DOST Usec. for Research and Development Leah J. Buendia, La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda, Provincial Agriculturist Delinia Juan, DOST-ITDI Director Annabelle V. Briones, and DOST-CAR Director Nancy Bantog led the inauguration of the facility.
The DOST has provided P9.6 million worth of equipment for the packaging line and capability-building activities for the BCC stakeholders while the provincial government allotted P6.2M for the building renovations to house the project.
The joint project is under the DOST’s Smart Food Value Chain Program for the New Normal which aims to upgrade the capability of existing distribution centers/trading posts in the delivery of fresh and semi-processed agricultural products through the application of appropriate packaging technology and delivery system.
Diclas reported every peak season, Benguet produces over a million kilos of vegetables but post-harvest losses remain a problem for highland farmers.
DOST Sec. Renato U. Solidum Jr., in his virtual message, said “losses can be significantly reduced with an appropriate packaging system and post-harvest technologies.”
With this upgraded facility, Benguet farmers can now produce packed fresh, semi-processed, and ready-to-eat highland vegetables.
Buendia hopes the project will be in full operation towards the middle of the year generating additional income for the Benguet farmers and decreasing post-harvest losses by at least 20 percent.
“This project supports the modernization of the Benguet vegetable industry by providing upgraded multi-cold chain services,” said Briones.
DOST Usec. for Regional Operations Sancho Mabborang said the project demonstrates the agency’s support to smart farming by focusing to leverage advanced technology along the value chain.
Bantog encouraged the farmers and stakeholders to patronize and maximize the facility.
“Be ambassadors to the farmers by informing them the benefits of this facility and how it impacts on their vegetable produce,” she added.
Elizabeth Joy Punasen of Reaping Farm Fresh Corporation and one of the BCC stakeholders expressed her gratitude to DOST for identifying Benguet farmers as beneficiaries of the project.
“I urge BCC stakeholders to support this initiative and work towards in making it a reality,” she added.
Also present to witness the inauguration were project consultants Daisy Tañafranca and BCC Manager Menandro Ortega; Project Leader Shellanie Molitas; project leader Engr. Ericson T. Nolasco; Benguet Board Member Ruben Paoad; Harriet Haight Albon, owner of Haight Farm; DOST-CAR assistant director for technical services Pepita S. Picpican; DOST Benguet Director Sheila Marie Singa-Claver, and BCC stakeholders. – Press release