By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Majority of the farmers, disposers and retailers who have been using the La Trinidad Trading Post would be displaced once the eviction notice of municipal government is implemented in March.
Tabanda issued an eviction notice on January 26 giving vegetable disposers, retailers and farmers using the town’s trading post until the end of the month to vacate the area and transfer to the Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) since issues on the new trading center have been clarified in the last January 12 consultations.
The notice did not offer any other explanation for asking the farmers, disposers and retailers to leave the old trading post but that the issues have already been clarified.
“Since the issues and concerns were resolved, it was agreed that all the farmers, disposers, traders and others who are utilizing the La Trinidad Trading Post shall transfer to the new Agri-Pinoy facility. A formal notice to transfer shall be sent to them,” the mayor’s notice read.
Jonathan Tercero, president of the trading post’s Bagsakan Association said only 35% of the over 300 members of the association using the trading post are qualified to enter the BAPTC given the “stringent” requirements. He said all members of the association have received copies of the eviction notice.
“We would leave if the eviction notice has legal basis,” Tercero said.
Tercero said all the over 300 members of the association are religiously paying business permits for the use of the trading post. He said that all those using the open cubicles at the bay area are members of the association.
Tercero further said that only about 35% of the members of his association would be qualified to enter the BAPTC given the required tonnage. He said the BAPTC requires a minimum of transaction of 1,000 kilograms of vegetables per day per farmer/disposer. He added that retail is also not allowed inside the BAPTC unlike in the old trading post.
Tercero said if they will be evicted they will have to look for another place where they can transact business especially the majority who will not be able to enter the BAPTC.
It can be recalled that majority of farmers and traders still prefer to use the La Trinidad Trading Center despite the opening of the BAPTC. Farmers have been raising issues and concerns about the proposed BAPTC management plan which they find too stringent and unfair. The issues raised include the charges the new trading facility would impose, accreditation process, tonnage requirement among others.
The BAPTC is not yet fully functional as other components that include the processing center and access roads are not yet finished.
According to the Benguet Farmers Marketing Cooperative (BFMC) some 3,000 farmers, disposers and retailers will be affected. # nordis.net