Monday, May 31, 2010

Fresh produce straight from the farmers

Fresh produce straight from the farmers
Cebu's Kumprahan Supermerkado takes
local farmers closer to a higher income

Cebu's farmers have better chances of earning more now that they have a fully air-conditioned place where they can sell their produce--free of rent.

In return, they only have to sell their products at a price that is similar or lower to that of wet markets.

Last May 29, Bridges Town Square at Alang-Alang, Mandaue City opened the Kumprahan Supermerkado, which was participated by more than 3,000 buyers. The event also marked the celebration of the Grand Farmers Day, with at least 2,000 member companies in attendance.

The event will be the start of a continuous arrangement between the town square and the farmer cooperatives involved.

The first of its kind. The Kumprahan Supermerkado is the first of its kind in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Organized by the Department of Agriculture and Bridges Town Square along with non-government organizations and farmer cooperatives, it aims to bring the farmers closer to its consumers by eradicating the middlemen who set the prices of the farmers' produce themselves.

Generally, farmers have to pay high rental and contract fees to wet markets if they want to own a stall and sell their products themselves, which discouraged the farmers and instead opt to sell their products to the middlemen, which in turn gave the farmers lesser revenue.

With the Kumprahan Supermerkado, they have more control on the prices of the farm produce they sell.

One of the partners of the Kumprahan Supermerkado is the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), which linked at least 2,000 member farmers in various cooperatives. PBSP's cooperatives included the Babag Sibugay United Farmers Association, Barangay Unit Key for Integrated Development (BUKID) Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Batallion Irrigation Association, Binaliw Farmer Association and Toong Farmer Association.

"Dugay na kaayo mi naghulat ani nga oportunidad na ma-market ang among mga produkto (We've been waiting for this opportunity to market our products)," BUKID MPC Chair Jose Pepito Bebelonio said.

Supermarket convenience and affordable prices combined. Bridges Town Square allocated a total of 220 square meters of rent-free space for the farmers. The space, which is fully air-conditioned, allows the crops to last longer.

The stalls are also more accessible to the public because it is found inside a mall. Aside from the farm's produce, customers can also buy fish, eggs, meat, rice and grocery items with prices that are lower than the usual retail price.

"Nalipay jud mi ani kay wala pa mi renta, dako pa gyud ni na oportunidad sa among coop kay magpadayun na man ni siya (We're thankful because not only do we need to pay the rent; our coop will benefit from this because this is continuous)," Batallion Irrigation Association President Lucresio Son said.

For more pictures of the Kumprahan Supermerkado Grand Farmers Day, you may visit PBSP's PHOTO GALLERY