October 3, 2023

The local government of Benguet is considering passing an ordinance making permanent the scheduled entry of farmers from 13 towns and nearby provinces to the various vegetable trading centers in La Trinidad.
Board Member Nestor Fongwan Jr. proposed the clustering of the entry of vegetable farmers and traders in large-scale vegetable trading centers in La Trinidad according to municipality of origin.
Fongwan said the clustering is in response to the implementation of Covid-19 health protocols through the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force that provided the schedules for the farmers to deliver and unload their produce in La Trinidad, where the biggest trading centers are – the Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center and the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post. Other private trading centers also exist in town.
“The scheduling or clustering implemented by the PIATF received positive reactions from the people of the province not only because of its main purpose of implementing social distancing, but it also helped stabilize the supply of vegetables and prices,” Fongwan said.
He said it has been observed that the over-supply of vegetables in the trading centers result in losses to the farmers who either sell their produce at a very low price, or end up throwing their produce away.
The proposed ordinance also aims to advance the positive effects of the clustering, particularly its contribution to the regulation of vegetable supplies and prices. It also helps in the management of vehicular traffic, as farmers and traders’ vehicles going to the trading centers become the main problem, especially during peak hours.
At present, the municipalities are clustered into two groups with cluster one covering Buguias, Atok, Kabayan, Sablan, Itogon, La Trinidad and Kapangan, while cluster two covers Mankayan, Kibungan, Bakun, Tuba, Tublay, and Bokod.
Also included in the clustering are other highland vegetable-producing municipalities outside of Benguet which are Bauko, Mountain Province belonging to cluster one and Tinoc, Ifugao belonging to cluster two.
Those included in cluster one are allowed to load and unload their produce on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays while those in cluster two can deliver their produce on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
The proposed ordinance is under review by the sangguniang panlalawigan. – Ofelia C. Empian