Usec. Ariel Cayanan and Mayor Alkan Gamilla lead the groundbreaking ceremonies for the cold storage facility. Photo by Armand Galang
BONGABON, Nueva Ecija – Agriculture undersecretary Ariel Cayanan, along with Mayor Allan Xyztus Gamilla, led the groundbreaking ceremonies for a P210-million cold storage facility in Barangay Vega here on April 7.
Gamilla said the facility, being the first of its kind to rise in this municipality that has long been dubbed as the onion basket of the Philippines is a much-deserved support to local farmers.
“Ito po ay napakamasaysayang araw para sa mga magsisiibuyas na Bongabueño dahil hindi po madali na magkaroon po ng isang proyekto na ganito at ito po ay handog namin sa inyo mga kababayan naming magsasaka,” Gamilla said.
Several local government personnel, he said, endeavored in working with the Department of Agriculture for the project, a World Bank grant under its Philippine Rural Development Project.
The LGU had counterpart of 10 percent which included the purchase of the lot, he explained.
An onion research center is also eyed to be established in a donated portion of the area, the local chief executive added.
“Sa haba na ng problema namin sa sibuyas kung saan kilala ang bayan namin bilang onion capital of the Philippines, sa dami po ng problema na amin pong kinakaharap maliban po sa problema sa panahon, sa smuggling, at yung importation ay talaga pong nagpahirap sa mga magsasaka,” Gamilla said.
On top of these, traders hire warehouses or cold storage facilities leaving farmers no recourse but to sell their produce on dictated price, he added.
The cold storage can accommodate some 120,000 bags of onions which represents only 15 percent of the town’s average yield.
“Hindi pa po lahat, pero kahit paano’y may pagsisimulan,” he said.
Cayanan, for his part, hailed the LGU for the project as he urged farmers to register with the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture to make sure they benefit from government programs.
He also lauded farmers for braving the pandemic in producing food for every Filipino.