Buyers came in droves after the formal launching today of the Meat Cutting and Processing Shared Service Facility equipment to the Batanes Meat Handlers Association (BMHA) to see the fruition of a dream: reasonably priced, ready-to-cook choice cuts of meat now available for Batanes consumers!

No more bone shards, no wastage, no hassle shopping, convenience, and more value for money—these are the plus sides of buying your basic needs at the Farmers and Fishermen’s Market of Batanes (FFMB).

The SSF project is a collaborative undertaking of DTI R2 Batanes and the Provincial Government of Batanes, implemented with the cooperation of the Department of Agriculture—Batanes Experimental Station (DA-BES) and the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Through the provision of modern equipment to the Batanes Meat Handlers Association, the project seeks to improve the productivity and competitiveness of local meat products and give consumers better options and value.

The awarded Shared Service Facilities equipment amounting to Php 550,000 includes 2 bone saw cutters, 2 meat slicers, 2 meat grinders, 1 commercial open-top stainless steel meat display, 1 meat chiller display counter, 1 standing open chiller, and 1 portable food vacuum sealer.

When shopping for basic needs, consumers in Batanes usually go around the town of Basco to look for fish, meat, and vegetables. This practice is not only time-consuming but also expensive. Hence, DTI R2 Batanes pushed for the reopening of the FFMB by presenting a proposal to the Honorable Governor Marilou H. Cayco as a solution.

The FFMB serves as the public market not only for Basco residents but also those from the other municipalities on Batan Island. It was reopened, after more than ten years, on May 17, 2022, during the first visit of DTI Region 2 Director Leah Pulido Ocampo. The dream for Batanes’ market did not stop there, and to guarantee the profitability and sustainability of the market, DTI R2 Batanes spearheaded the upgrading of the FFMB to increase the salability of local meat through the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) Program.

DTI R2 Batanes OIC Provincial Director Ellerie Mila G. Ramel in her opening remarks said, “The flagship program of DTI, the Shared Service Facilities, will help to improve businesses through the provision of equipment that will improve the MSMEs’ productivity, competitiveness, and capability, and to ensure that consumers are getting a better value for their money.” She added, “The public market is not just a place to sell and buy. It should, at the end of the day, be a reflection of the people and their aspirations, the place, and its culture.”

Provincial Governor Hon. Marilou H. Cayco, represented by Provincial Agriculturist Cesar Hostallero, said, “Ang pangarap na ito na buhayin ang market at lalo pang ma-improve ay unti-unting nagkakaroon ng mukha. Tulad ng lagi kong sinasabi sa ating mga partner agencies na kapag tayo ay nagtulong tulong, meron tayong mararating.” Provincial Agriculturist Hostallero assured that they are currently working on the expansion of the market to include a fish section and include more vendors.

BMHA President Edna C. Alina expressed her sincere gratitude to DTI, PGB, TESDA, and all partner agencies for enabling their humble association through this program.

The activity was also graced by Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Aurea Perez, Senior Agriculturist Linda Cariaso, TESDA OIC Provincial Director Samuel Falcis, DA-BES Agricultural Center Chief Ill/Station Manager Dr. Richard Paddayuman, SP on Trade and Industry Juliet Cataluña, BTSDC Trainer Jerome Jay Cabugao, NCIP Provincial Director Tomas Ibardo, market vendors, and consumers. #

Date of release: 15 March 2023