Palayan builds facility to bring market nearer Ecija farmers
PALAYAN CITY — The city government has developed a trading facility for farmers to get closer to markets, where they can sell their produce.
Palayan City Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas said the facility would also encourage farmers to stick to farming.
“We need to stop farmers from leaving their farms,” the mayor said during the Aug. 28 groundbreaking ceremony of the P80-million Palayan City Farmers’ Trading Center, a joint venture of the local government and First Asia Agri-Industrial Resources Corp. (FAAIRC) headed by businessman Albert Lim.
Ernesto Perlas, a vegetable farmer and head of Aktibong Magsasaka ng Palayan City, said many farmers were being discouraged by the high cost of food production.
“First of all, we deal with the high cost of inputs, as prices for seedlings, fertilizers and pesticides continue to spiral. On top of these costs, middlemen take most of the profits compared food producers,” said Perlas, who also heads Calamansi Growers Association here.
The trading center on a 3-hectare lot near the public market in Barangay Atate was initiated 15 years ago but was not pursued.
Cuevas, a first-time mayor, said she planned to harness all “white elephants” in the city.
The trading facility would bring farmers closer to their buyers, reduce transportation cost and reduce the need for middlemen.
Cuevas said a farmer spends P300 to pay tricycles to haul produce from Palayan to Cabanatuan City.
The city agriculture office said all of Palayan’s 19 villages were categorized as agricultural. Palayan has 2,505 ha planted to rice, 115.75 ha to corn and 834.55 ha to vegetables.
Aldous Echegoyen, FAAIRC director for operations, said the trading center would be useful for all kinds of agricultural products, including rice from this city and adjoining towns, such as Bongabon, Gabaldon and Laur, and produce from Dingalan town, Aurora province.
He said the company would start the first phase of the project by building a central “bagsakan” (unloading area for produce) and a “pasalubong” (gift) center.
A cold storage facility would also be built as part of a logistics network. Armand Galang, Inquirer Central Luzon
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