Cold Storage Facility for BFTs
Urban consumers are now assured of quality agriculture and fishery products with the establishment of cold storage facilities in the barangay food terminals (BFTs) that have been set up in Metro Manila.
Arnel Ramir M. Apaga, director of the Training and Extension Department of the Bureau of Postharvest Research and Extension (BPRE) and also the focal person for the national food chain program, said the cold storage facilities ensure longer shelf life of agricultural and fishery products and, hence, prolong their quality until these are sold out.
Highly perishable products like vegetables last only for three days. With the cold storage facilities that are being set up by BPRE, these could now be stored up to three weeks.
The BFTs are being established in support of the Department of Agriculture’s Goal 2 Program, which aims to make food products more affordable and accessible to all consumers at affordable prices. It is intended to ensure a stable price and supply of agriculture and fishery products through the establishment of cold storage facilities and a direct link with producers, thereby eliminating middlemen.
The DA and the local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila collaborate with each other to establish the BFTs through a memorandum of agreement (MOA). Under the MOA, BPRE under DA is tasked to provide technical support in the establishment of cold storage facilities. BPRE is also responsible to provide training and to monitor food handling and storage.
In the Taguig BFT, for instance, its cold storage facility has a capacity of 1,500 to 2,000 kilograms (kg) of meat and 1,000 kg of mixed vegetables from the highlands and lowlands. Among its numerous suppliers is the Luntian Multi-Purpose Cooperative of Tiaong, Quezon, which delivers 130 to 200 kg of pork and beef per delivery. It delivers twice a week, enough for the whole week supply.