Piñol opens Mindanao trade lane in Baguio, Benguet
BAGUIO CITY –– Mindanao food growers have opened a trade lane in Baguio, hoping to expand their market to northern Luzon.
On Saturday (Aug. 24), former agriculture secretary Emmanuel Piñol, who now chairs the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) shipped here five trucks of durian, rambutan, and other Mindanao fruits.
Baguio vendors will sell the fruits at reasonable prices along a portion of downtown Session Road.
Session Road would be closed to motorists for the second time on Sunday (Aug. 25) to test the feasibility of pedestrianizing the city center.
Piñol said Mayor Benjamin Magalong had asked him to link the markets of Baguio and Benguet with Mindanao, by tapping the underutilized Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trade Center in the Benguet capital, La Trinidad.
Benguet is the major Luzon supplier of salad vegetables like carrots, lettuce, beans, and potatoes. La Trinidad hosts BAPTC and the original trading post where Manila food distributors purchase vegetables.
Benguet is also the main producer of strawberries, which Piñol said could be marketed in Mindanao.
Mindanao growers would not be competing with the Baguio market, but are interested in tapping Baguio’s weekend tourism once the fruit exchange becomes sustainable, Piñol stressed.
MinDA is a promotions agency, he said, but it wants to reduce the influence of middlemen in food distribution.
Piñol said he also wanted to highlight Mindanao as a growing economy, rather than as a conflict area./lzb
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