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DAPTC LaunchingMay 28, 2015 - All roads lead to Mantalongon, Dalaguete as Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso J. Alcala came to attend the launching of the Dalaguete Agri-Pinoy Trading Center, a project realized through the joint efforts of the Department of Agriculture, Agri-Business and Marketing System (DA-AMAS) and the Local Government Unit of Dalaguete aimed to alleviate the lives of farmers in the municipality by providing facilities and support that will give them ease not just in transporting their goods but most especially to make sure postharvest losses are minimized and farmers’ income increased at the same time farm products are properly handled.

Upon arrival, around 7:00AM – 7:30AM, Secretary Alcala with his staff Asec Leandro Gazmin, USec Emerson Palad, AMAS Director Bernadette San Juan, and Regional Executive Director Angel C. Enriquez, convoyed with Provincial Government officials headed by Governor Hilario Davide III, Vice-Governor Agnes Magpale, Board Members Peter John D. Calderon and Christopher R. Bariquatro, House of Representatives Member Congressman Wilfredo Caminero, and Dalaguete Local Government Unit headed by Mayor Ronald Allan G. Cesante, went straight to Sigpit, Granchina where the first of four vegetable Pick-Up-Points to be built this year was established. Regional DA staff headed by RTD Joel Elumba, and LGU Agriculture technicians together with farmers waited and greeted them. There, the good Secretary was able to see the farms, mingled and conversed with the farmers on what possible high value crops to plant. He promised support and assistance in providing the seeds and asked the farmers to learn to plant them the proper way so that when he visits again, the farmers will then be the ones to bring the produce coming from the seeds provided by the department.

A feast of boiled camote and banana, dried fish, fish paksiw, grilled fish, banana meat, and fresh vegetable salad was served for breakfast at the DAPTC administration office. After which the cutting of Ribbon and the Blessing of the facility followed. The Electronic Price Monitoring Board was then switched on. This is an innovation designed and programmed by University of San Carlos Computer Engineering team aimed to make the prices based from Carbon Market in Cebu City be known in DAPTC to make sure that right prices be paid to farmers for their produce immediately before these produce be released. Film documentation on the DAPTC project as to when it was established and its processes was also shown through the big screen at DAPTC.

At San Isidro Cultural Center just across the street from the DAPTC, a program was held attended by distinguished guests, municipal government department heads and staff, captains from the 33 barangays of Dalaguete and more than 700 farmers listed under Farmers Associations/Organizations. Among the distinguished guests were key officers of partner agencies AFOS OURFood Foundation, Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority, Commission on Audit, Dept. of Public Works and Highways, and mayors of the 2nd District of Cebu.

Mayor Cesante in behalf of the Municipal Government of Dalaguete (MGD) expressed his gratitude to the PNoy administration and that President's support will not be forgotten. He is hopeful that in 5 years DAPTC will be turned over to the farmers associations of Dalaguete. “Let us help our farmers to love farming and entrepreneurship”, he added. MGD dreams that vegetables coming from DAPTC will be safe to eat, easy to buy, organically grown, pesticide free, clean and beneficial to health.

Congressman Caminero in his speech said, “This is one big dream that has been given realization”. He hopes that with the support of the administration, more farm to market roads will be constructed that will then make DAPTC accessible to neighbouring mountain barangays of the municipalities of Alcoy, Badian and Argao.

Secretary Alcala hopes that this will be a memorable event for everyone. He wants to congratulate everyone in their beautiful support to having a trading center in the locality. They hope to change the lives of the farmers by having them experience that they themselves will bring their produce to the trading center. Secretary’s only request is for the farmers to learn to bring their own produce in the market. He wanted to clarify that they are not eradicating the role of traders because the business will not prosper without them. The only request to the traders is for them to buy the produce in DAPTC before bringing these produce somewhere else. And if the traders will have concerns regarding transporting these goods, Secretary is willing to sit down with them to come up with ways to help them. He is also willing to talk with farmers on how to improve production yield. This is the first time that farmers are given special treatment by the government and they are to deliver special services to farmers because this is the order of the President, to love the farmers and fishermen and look after their welfare and needs. The reason why they visited the farms is to see the real situation and make sure that in the remaining days of the PNoy administration this will become his legacy, that they will have changed the lives of farmers in Cebu.”Nagsimula po tayo, pinalakas po natin ang mga hanay ng mga magsasaka at binago po natin ang buhay ng magsasaka dito sa lalawigan ng Cebu.” He believes that this will be easily realized in Cebu because everyone in position is in full support.

An open forum with the farmers provided an avenue for them to raise their concerns and express their sentiments to the Secretary. Some solutions were given immediately after, but there were also other matters needed to be further verified.

After the sumptuous lunch, Secretary Alcala left as he have another event to catch up on to but he left key DA officers to follow through the event.

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) trained farmers were then awarded their Certificates of Completion. Farmers whose corn crops and livestock that have been damaged by Typhoon Senyang were able to claim their indemnity checks from PCIC. Farm inputs worth Php5,000 were given to 25 farmers who were affected by typhoons thru PARDICO, a local cooperative based at Mantalongon.

DA also brought Agri-items such as 40 pcs. Plastic Drums, 200 pcs. Sprinklers, 30 pcs. Knapsack Sprayers, and 5 pcs. PH meters and 20 native chickens to be raffled while MGD brought 100 vermi casts. They also awarded 1 packet of swine to Mantalongon Farmers Federation under the Organic Agriculture Program; carabao with implements to Mantalongon Irrigators Association; and 5 cattle and carabaos to 8 Farmer associations.

This is by far the biggest agricultural event in Dalaguete and a culmination of more than a year construction, countless revisions and conceptualization of the people who dedicated time and effort to make this event possible not just for the municipality but most especially for the farmers who are the main reason why this project was even conceived. As Mayor Cesante said, this marks the beginning of a big change in the lives of the farmers and the agriculture industry of Dalaguete. “Busa, hangyoon ta kamo niining panaw. Panaw sa mga mag-uuma, panaw sa Dalaguete, panaw sa Sugbu ug panaw sa Pilipinas!”

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