E-commerce portal started during the pandemic connects farmers to institutional buyers

Communication and logistics are but two of the many challenges faced in the Philippine agriculture industry, and never has it been more apparent than during the early days of the pandemic.

When the country shut down to necessarily contain COVID-19 in March 2020, borders were closed, making the transportation of goods difficult, even if one had the required passes. Trading posts (bagsakan) and wet markets were forced to close in a bid to slow the spread of the disease.

Because of this, many farmers suddenly found themselves unable to sell their goods. It was the desire to solve this predicament that birthed Agrifoodhub, an ecommerce portal that links farmers with wholesale buyers. Farmer Pronie is one of the active farmer members of Kasibu Development Farmers Cooperative (KAFDECO). In the past, they just guess what the market/bagsakan needs and plant it right away. As a result, profitability is like a gamble. With Agrifoodhub’s market linkage, she and fellow farmers in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya are now determined to plant sweet pepper/chili-Taiwan all year-round for a contract deal. “It was Sir Phillip Ong, the Chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture [and Food Inc.]and the Chairman of Sante [Feeds Corporation] who thought of this idea,” Ruel Amparo, who heads Agrifoodhub’s operations, says in Tagalog. Amparo is also CEO and Co-founder of Cropital, an agriculture investment company that directly benefits smallholder farmers.

Agrifoodhub, under the Santeh Foundation, started during the pandemic in March 2020. “We saw what was happening online. A lot of farmers were throwing away their produce,” says Constantine Ong of Santeh Feeds Corp.

It partnered with Croptial, who “were entrusted to lead and help build, start, and organize,” Amparo says. “We manage the team behind the AFH, particularly the ones that onboard farmers and the ones that onboard buyers as well.”

While most of the […]

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