P182-M agricultural trading post to rise in Lanao del Sur

P182-M agricultural trading post to rise in Lanao del Sur

COTABATO CITY — The provincial government of Lanao del Sur is constructing a P182-million facility to market agricultural products from all over the province to hasten the connectivity among local merchants and entrepreneurs and their counterparts outside of the province.

The construction of the large, permanent trading site in a strategic area in Marantao municipality is being bankrolled with a loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines, according to the communications office of Gov. Mamintal A. Adiong, Jr.

Marantao Mayor Akira D. Alonto said on Monday that he and his constituent-leaders are to cooperate in overseeing the operation of the agricultural trading post, once fully constructed.

“We appreciate this project. We are thankful to our provincial government for embarking on this. This will have a big, positive impact on municipal commerce and trade, over and above its good effect on the economy of the province,” Mr. Alonto said.

Mr. Adiong, chairperson of the Lanao del Sur Provincial Peace and Order Council, said one of their objectives in constructing a large trading hub for farm and fishery products in Marantao is to complement the socio-economic goals of Malacañang’s separate peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.

Mr. Adiong said many of the farmers in Lanao del Sur’s 39 towns are either members of the MILF, or MNLF, now peacefully thriving as farmers after having been decommissioned based on the peace agreements of the two fronts with the national government.

About 70% of the residents in Lanao del Sur, one of six provinces of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), rely mainly on propagation of rice, corn and other short-term crops as sources of income.

Traders of farm and fishery products in Iligan City and in nearby towns in Lanao del Norte are now anticipating easier connectivity with their contacts in Lanao del Sur once they converge in the facility now being built in Marantao.

“We don’t have to go to faraway towns in Lanao del Sur anymore. Marantao is near Iligan City and a number of towns in Lanao del Norte where there are merchants buying agricultural products in Lanao del Sur for trading outside of that Maranaw-dominated province ,” 46-year-old livestock trader, Alex Vinarao, said.

Officials of the trade and industry and agriculture ministries of BARMM here said on Monday that they are ready to help capacitate local traders, who are to use the large trading center, via interventions essential in ensuring the marketability of farm products from the towns in Lanao del Sur to non-resident itinerant traders. — John Felix M. Unson