by Othel V. Campos
[ manilastandardtoday.com ] October 8, 2011
The Agriculture Department has asked the government to exclude at least 34 hectares of land from the privatization of Food Terminal Inc.’s 120-hectare property in Taguig City.
“We submitted this proposal to the Department of Finance. There hasn’t been response from them yet,” Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said in an interview Thursday night.
He said Agriculture planned to build a trading center in the FTI property where farmers and consumers could negotiate on wholesale basis.
He said the depot would cater to vegetables, fruits and grains producers, as well as livestock stakeholders like goat and hog raisers.
The proposal calls for the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service to generate funding to create the trading center.
“We will not be dependent on the Department of Finance for the funding. That’s why we are really pushing for this project,” said Alcala.
The Finance Department recently said it received an offer for the FTI property.
The offer is subject to a Swiss challenge and needs the approval of President Benigno Aquino III.
Under a Swiss challenge, other interested parties will have a chance to offer better bids for the property, with the original bidder winning the property if can match the counter offers. Finance has submitted the proposal to Malacañang for approval.
Senate committee in food and agriculture chairman Francis Pangilinan has proposed a similar strategy of using the facility for food security.
He urged the Aquino administration to rethink its policy given the serious major developments in food security requirements.