CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Department of Agriculture-Central Luzon (DA-3) on Thursday turned over two cold storage facilities in Nueva Ecija province that will address the onion farmers’ postharvest storage concerns.
DA-High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) Director Glenn Panganiban, together with DA Central Luzon Regional Executive Director Crispulo G. Bautista Jr. and other officials, led the turnover of the cold onion storage facilities to members of the Caridad Sur Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CASFA) in Barangay Caridad Sur, Llanera town and Kalasag Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Barangay San Agustin, San Jose City, both in Nueva Ecija.
The establishment of the facilities worth PHP20 million each was funded by DA under the Bayanihan II Fund and HVCDP regular fund. Each facility has a capacity of 10,000 bags.
Bautista said the cold storage will help prolong the shelf life of onions and lessen the postharvest losses which, in turn, will help the farmers acquire adequate income.
Likewise, he said this would eliminate the middlemen who usually buy the onion farmers’ products at a low cost.
Due to lack of storage facilities, farmers are often forced to market their produce at a low price.
With the construction of the cold storage facility, they would be able to properly store their produce and obtain a good price for it.
Bautista assured that the DA will construct more cold storage facilities in the region to enable more farmers to safely store their produce.
“Ang Department of Agriculture ay hindi po namin kayo pinababayaan. Halos lahat ng aming programa, ang aming pagpaplano ng mga proyekto ay para sa kapakanan ng mga magsasaka (The DA is not neglecting you. Almost all our programs, plans and projects are for the welfare of the farmers),” Bautista said during the turnover rites.
Dominador dela Cruz, chair of the Caridad Sur Farmers Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative, thanked the DA for the project as he assured that they would value and properly maintain the facility.
“Malaking tulong para sa amin na mga magsisibuyas itong nasabing proyekto. Umaasa kayo na ito ay aming pangangalagaan (The project is a big help to us onion farmers. Rest assure that we will take care of this),” Dela Cruz said.
Consistent with the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to boost local food production, the DA, through its HVCDP, has allotted more than PHP300 million worth of interventions for onion this year.
Of the total amount, the DA said the highest allocation is set for the establishment of cold storage facilities. (PNA)