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Japan builds solar-powered cold storage facility in Benguet to support farmers

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On June 21, 2023, Mr. TACHIKAWA Jumpei, First Secretary and Agriculture Attaché of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, attended the inauguration ceremony for the solar-powered cold storage facility in Buguias, Benguet. The event was also graced by Benguet Governor Melchor Diclas, Buguias Mayor Ruben Tinda-an, DA, ATI Training Center Director Remelyn Recoter, Japan Agricultural Exchange Council Executive Director Mr. SAKAMOTO Ryoji and other LGU and ATI officials.

Farmers in Benguet frequently face the challenge of earning low income despite harvesting competitive and high-quality produce. Despite being known as the “Salad Bowl of the Philippines” and having a favorable climate for growing vegetables, Benguet suffers from an unstructured production system, subpar post-harvest handling procedures, and unstable product prices.

To aid the farmers in Benguet, the Japan Agricultural Exchange Council (JAEC), a Japanese NGO, has been implementing the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Grassroots Cooperation Project since 2007. Among other things, JAEC carried out dissemination activities for safe vegetable farming techniques and improved post-harvest procedures. However, the activities for this initiative were suspended in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, through the funding support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan, JAEC commenced the Safe Vegetable Production Technology Dissemination and Vegetable Distribution System Improvement Project. The farmers were equipped with various Japanese farming technologies under this initiative. This project will also enable the development of a cold chain system through the completed solar-powered cold storage facility in the Municipality of Buguias, Benguet, as well as the other cold storage supplies and equipment.

By enhancing the quality of the produce through an effective distribution system, farmer’s income are expected to improve and their losses to decrease, while consumers may benefit from buying healthy, fresh, and quality vegetables.

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