The province of South Cotabato has a significant agricultural sector just like in many parts of Mindanao. This has remained so even as many of its communities have urbanized and developed industrial capacities. To fuel that growth, agricultural produce from the Region needs to be efficiently distributed throughout South Cotabato. That is why since 2019, the provincial government has proposed that an integrated food terminal be constructed in a key municipality where products can be dropped off for long-term storage and distribution. Given time and the rise of processing infrastructure, they can be made into something more. The selected municipality for this purpose is Tupi.
Thus, as reported by the Philippine News Agency, the South Cotabato provincial government is looking to start developing an Integrated Food Terminal (IFT) complex in Tupi, which will become the heart of a future economic zone. Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. tells local press this past Monday that a formal presentation of the project was given to Agriculture Secretary William Dar last Friday, February 5, to which he has given full endorsement. On February 8 the Department of Agriculture has pledged support to the IFT construction, estimated to cost several million Pesos but will aid in developing South Cotabato’s agriculture sector.
An initial fund of P23 million has been earmarked to build two storage facilities, one for cold products and another for seed, on an allotted two hectares of land in Tupi town. From here various support infrastructure will round out the Integrated Food Terminal, where farmers can drop off their agricultural produce throughout Region 12 SOCSKSARGEN. They can let their produce store safely until the market price is good, whereupon these can be sold directly to locators. When further infrastructures are opened, the farmers can then have their goods processed or manufactured, so they can sell for even higher prices.
Gov. Tamayo explains that Tupi was chosen to site the IFT for its central location in South Cotabato, particularly its ever-expanding road network, as well as its relative closeness to the seaports and airport in neighboring GenSan. Optimally this will spur the further development of the food terminal into a full economic zone, ideally setting up South Cotabato as a major agricultural manufacturing powerhouse in the national economy. “The project will provide better opportunities for our farmers and expand the economic activities in the area as well,” says the Governor.
Image from Philippine Information Agency