Addressing one of the most crucial part of the food value chain which is marketing, the Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Provincial Local Government Unit of Ilocos Norte and the City Government of Batac, inaugurated today the Php30 million worth of trading center located in Brgy. Billoca, Batac City, Ilocos Norte to be known as the Ilocos Norte Agricultural Trading Center (INATC).

The project will serve as a central hub that is expected to meet the marketing requirements of farmers, promote agricultural and agri-based products of the province and help lessen transport expenses of farmers in bringing closer their products to consumers.

Funded by the Department of Agriculture, the trading center not only aims to improve the current marketing systems as it reduces traders and middlemen’ involvement in the marketing operations but also ensures higher income of farmers by 15 to 25 percent.

Situated in a 10-hectare land near the Batac City Public market donated by the Batac City Government as a counterpart to the project, the trading center is expected to be completed by August 2024.

Of the P30 million project cost, P26 million was allocated for the construction of the building, P3.5 million for the hauling and delivery truck and P500,000 for the purchase of marketing equipment such as heavy duty digital weighing scale, plastic crates, plastic pallets, jack lifts and other equipment.

Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph Marcos Manotoc, in his message during the event, recognized the importance of the project to the farming community in Ilocos as it will not only help farmers become better entrepreneurs but to ensure that they are protected and prioritized through the project. “If this project doesn’t help farmers, it doesn’t work.”, he said.

Meanwhile, Batac City Mayor Albert Chua and SB Member Mark Christian Chua both expressed their gratitude to DA-RFO I and the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte for choosing Batac as recipient of the project recognizing how the project would help bring socio-economic benefits to their constituents.

Likewise in her message, DA-RFO I Regional Executive Director Dr. Annie Q. Bares also thanked the partnership and support of the PLGU and MLGU in realizing the project. She encouraged the proper use and management of the facility so that it could fully serve its purpose in helping lessen the post production expenses of farmers, eliminate unnecesary marketing layers that reduces income of the food producers, and create a competitive marketing for Ilocos Norte’s local agricultural produce.