DBP has extended a Php 536.3-million loan to Southeast Asian Commodities and Food Exchange, Inc. (SACFEI) for the development of the first phase of the North Food Exchange (NFEx), a special economic zone in Balagtas, Bulacan that is being eyed to become the distribution hub of northern Luzon.
DBP president & chief executive officer Francisco F. Del Rosario, Jr, said the NFEx will be the country’s first agricultural depot where farmers, fishermen and entrepreneurs can directly sell their produce to end-users, effectively blocking middlemen participation and translating to at least 40% reduction in cost of goods.
He added that the project is in support of the Aquino administration’s efforts to establish more agricultural trading centers that will eliminate middleman transactions and opportunities for corruption while improving the economic conditions of farmers and fishermen and making basic food affordable to the general public.
NFEx will sit on a 5.2 hectare lot with 969 stalls for agro products, fishery products, poultry and livestock, groceries, processed foods, specialty products, food ingredients, fast food and commercial establishments. It will also feature grains terminals, cold storage, warehouses, slaughterhouses, produce and wet markets, transportation, and recreational support facilities.
The NFEx is also foreseen to benefit from the interconnection of major infrastructure by 2014 such as the Balagtas NLEX interchange, NLEX service road, North Rail from Monumento to Clark, and MRT 7 from San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan to Quezon City. The NFEx took off from a nine-year extensive research on successful cooperatives, agrofood exchanges and distribution models from China, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.
DBP executive vice president Jesus Guevara II shakes hands with Southeast Asian Commodities Management chairman Josefina Dela Cruz after the loan agreement signing for the North Food Exchange project. Also in photo are (from left) Foundation for People Development president Rene Gayo, DBP senior vice president Cresenciana Bundoc, Southeast Asian Commodities and Food Exchange, Inc. (SACFEI) president Fidel Bugayong, Dr. Pilar De Ocampo, and Atty. Jose Villamor of SACFEI.