Monday, May 31, 2010

Farmers sell straight to consumers

Farmers sell straight to consumers
Sun.Star Cebu
May 31, 2010

More than 3,000 customers trooped to the Kumprahan SuperMerkado last Saturday, when it opened its “Grand Farmers’ Day” at the Bridges Town Square on Plaridel St. in Alang-Alang, Mandaue City.

In a statement, Kumprahan chief organizer Jon Ramos said he was surprised at the big turnout.

“I didn’t expect this many people,” Ramos said. “But what was really surprising was to see close to a hundred customers coming here as early as 6 a.m.”

Because of the success of the event, Kumprahan will have a “Grand Farmers’ Weekend” every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Among the early birds last Saturday, according to Ramos, were the nuns from Perpetual Succour Hospital, who bought 40 sacks of Ganador rice along with fresh vegetables.

Farmgate prices
Ramos said the customers “enjoyed buying (their food supplies) at farmgate prices” directly from the farmers.

In his keynote message at the opening of the event, Department of Agriculture (DA) director for agribusiness and marketing services Francisco Ramos III lauded the organizers for coming up with the “Grand Farmers’ Day” concept.

“I salute the organizers for giving the farmers the opportunity to earn more and at the same time for giving the public the opportunity to buy directly from the farmers,” he said, adding that the concept removed the middlemen from the picture.

In the wet market, according to the official, the middlemen control the prices of the farmers’ produce, which is why farmers never get the chance to experience high sales revenues.

First ever
This type of endeavor is also held in other parts of the country, but “this is the first ever to be located inside the mall, rent-free and fully air-conditioned,” said the agriculture official.

“In the wet market, sometimes the food-handling, hygiene and sanitation are not good,” he said.

The farmers got 220 square meters of space rent-free inside the Kumprahan SuperMerkado to sell their products, which remained fresh throughout the day because of the fully-air-conditioned environment.

“Sosyal kaayo mi’g dating dinhi,” said Rely Tanod-Tanod, president of the Carcar United Lowland Farmers and Irrigators Association. (There is an upmarket feel here.)

“Wa sad ta’y kahadlokan sa (There is also no fear of) demolition,” added barangay Binaliw councilor Estrella Diano.

Also at the opening ceremony were Bridges Town Square managing director Dominic Alegrado and Jessie Cubijano, Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) officer-in-charge.

The Grand Farmers Day was held in coordination with the DA and Bridges Town Square.

Kumprahan SuperMerkado is the first community market in the Visayas and Mindanao that provides fresh products at market prices, yet at the convenience of a mall supermarket, the statement said.