Press Release
February 23, 2016


MT. PROVINCE--To drive more economic activity up north, presidential race frontrunner Sen. Grace Poe wants to establish an agro-industrial zone and build more dynamic food terminals in Mountain Province.

As in most of the Cordillera Administrative Region, where poverty incidence is high, Mt. Province relies on crop production as its main industry. Highland vegetables, legumes, corn, citrus fruits, native rice, and abaca are abundant in the province.

Poe said building an agro-industrial zone in Bontoc and making food terminals as vibrant as the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post in Benguet will help farmers process, trade and market their goods at a lower cost.

The La Trinidad Trading Post accounts for 1.2 million kilograms of highland vegetables supplied daily all over the country.

"Gusto naming magkaroon ng food terminal dito at saka processing zone at agro-industrial zone para 'yung magsasaka doon na dadalhin ang kanilang mga paninda at pwedeng dagdagan ng value-added products ang mga ito. Kung doon ang processing, doon din pupunta 'yung mga bibili," Poe said in her speech before multi-sectoral groups in the capital Bontoc.

Aside from food terminals, Poe is pushing for the construction of more strategic infrastructure to reduce the costs incurred by farmers and increase their profit. These include farm-to-market roads to facilitate easier and more efficient flow of products and goods.

In 2015, the Department of Agriculture allocated P45 million to build and repair 14 farm-to-market roads in Mt. Province. Poe said it is important that these projects are completed and maintained.

"Importate dito na dagdagan natin ang ating imprastraktura, ang mga kalsada para konektado ang ating mga magsasaka kung saan man nila dadalhin ang kanilang mga naani," said Poe, whose "Gobyernong may Puso" centers on uplifting the lives of all Filipinos, especially the poor.

With 20 percent of palay or rice grains lost during post-harvest, the senator proposed building more post-harvest facilities to increase production and ensure that no part of the harvest goes to waste.

"If our farmers will be more productive, the prices will be more competitive. Ibig sabihin mas makakapag-kumpitensya sila sa mga produktong galing sa ibang bansa," Poe said.

She said her "Gobyernong may Puso" will ensure that irrigation fees will be scrapped and loans will be made more affordable and accessible to farmers.

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