080920 slaughter
Photo from the Office of the Vice Mayor, M'lang, North Cotabato

by Secretary Emmanuel Piñol
Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

Early today, the first Chiller and Cold Storage for Poultry and Livestock Products in North Cotabato was commissioned in M'lang town, a major step forward in the continuing advocacy to empower agriculture stakeholders.

The Chiller and Cold Storage stand alongside a Double "A" Slaughterhouse established in 2010 through the Congressional initiative of then Representative Bernardo Piñol, Jr.

The establishment of the Chiller and Cold Storage was funded by the Agriculture Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) of the Department of Agriculture in 2017 when I was Agriculture Secretary.

This was closely supervised by the Bureau of Animal Industry, then under Asst. Secretary Dr. Enrico Garzon and the National Meat Inspection Service, an agency under the DA.

These two facilities will now partially liberate the province's livestock producers from the traditional "viajedors" who go from farm to farm to buy hogs at prices they set.

Now, organized livestock farmers could bring their hogs to the slaughterhouse, chilled then frozen and transported to the market in reefer vans to get a better value.

In a message I gave during today's commissioning, I emphasized that even with the slaughterhouse and chiller and cold storage, the value chain is not complete yet because there is another step which the farmers could take to add value to their product and this is processing.

The most ideal set up is for the farmers to have full control of the whole value chain - from production, to processing and marketing - so that they will be liberated from the manipulation and control of traders and middlemen.

For so long, our farmers and fishermen have been relegated to the lowly status of raw materials producer, selling copra instead of cooking oil, palay instead of milled rice, raw rubber cup lumps instead of gloves and motorcycle tires and live hogs instead of bacon, ham, sausage or “tocino."

This is my life-long advocacy having seen, as a young boy growing up in the farm, how my father shook his head in despair and disappointment as the corn he worked hard to grow for four months would only be paid for with a measly sum not even enough to compensate for his labor.

The realization of this advocacy is not going to be easy and fast as shown by the time gap between the setting up of the slaughter house in 2010 and the commissioning of the Chiller and Cold Storage 10 years later.

The Complete Value Chain Policy will be the hallmark of every undertaking by our government in Mindanao through the Mindanao Development Authority.

Agriculture stakeholders must have full control of the whole process so that they will earn more and in the process be motivated to produce more.

After all, profitability is the main motivator of productivity.


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