FOOD TERMINAL. With Northern Mindanao's tallest peak, Mount Kitanglad, in the background, officials of the Department of Agriculture and Mindanao Development Authority lead the groundbreaking for the PHP14 million food terminal in the Bukidnon town of Talakag on Thursday (Dec 10, 2020). The facility in Brgy. Miarayon is designed to store harvested crops by farmers to avoid profit loss during seasonal changes. (PNA photo by Nef Luczon)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY--The Department of Agriculture (DA) and Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) broke ground for PHP14 million food terminal in the Bukidnon town of Talakag on Thursday.

DA-Region 10 (DA-10) Technical Director for Operations Carlota S. Madriaga said the facility will include cold storage.

"It is already complete with the (structural) design, and the next step will be the implementation," Madriaga said, adding that the funds were downloaded to the local government last week.

DA Assistant Sec. Kristine Evangelista said the food terminal's budget was sourced in the second Bayanihan Heal As One Act, which contains funding to help the agriculture sector cope with the losses from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

"This is also a follow-through to the vision of (MinDA) Sec. (Emmanuel) Piñol to improve the agricultural system for farmers and ensure food security," Evangelista said, referring to the time when Piñol was DA secretary.

The groundbreaking ceremony coincided with the first "Imtasula Vegetable Derby and Festival," a marketplace for farm produce from the four Bukidnon municipalities of Impasugong, Talakag, Sumilao, and Lantapan.

Piñol recalled that during his stint at the DA, the four towns had been eyed for vegetable production to supply Mindanao's markets and the rest of the country.

In a separate event, DA-10 also turned over PHP15.86 million in agricultural aid to barangays Kalabugao and Hagpa in Impasug-ong town to support the anti-insurgency initiatives of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC).

Evangelista noted that in Region 10 alone, DA has already distributed over PHP50 million in aid packages this year.

"The help will not stop here, as President (Rodrigo) Duterte directed us that you (farmers) are the first on the list of the government," she said.

Moreover, Evangelista announced that the agency would release more funding for agribusiness capital, milling equipment, and other farm implements to boost agricultural productivity in Region 10. (PNA)