The local social enterprise Project Zacchaeus Marketing Cooperative (PZMC) will now act as the province’s first online Kadiwa marketing, digitally connecting farmers to the market within the region, after signing a deal with the Department of Agriculture (DA) MIMAROPA.
Zacchaeus coop head John Vincent Gastanes said they filed a proposal to the DA MIMAROPA and were awarded a grant to be the department’s online Kadiwa marketing.
Farm Konek, PZC Community Stores, and Go Palengke, all of which were created during the pandemic, are among the PZMC’s e-commerce outlets.
It operates inside the city limits, as it works in collaboration with the Puerto Princesa City Agriculture Office to provide safe and fresh food to local customers in the midst of the community quarantine via the Go Palengke online store.
“What we are looking into first, kapag sinabi niya na full Kadiwa, buong region, is we will find supplies na medyo may demand. We are looking into seven variety na mina-market namin ngayon sa clients namin sa Hongkong, may potential clients na kami. Actually, tapos na ang aming data gathering side, nasa discussion na kami sa magiging source o logistical discussion na kami,” he said.
“Iyong Farm Konek talaga namin na pinondohan ng DA will focus on the buying of the items sa partner farmers namin then pag-digitalize ng inventory management. Kasi struggle ngayon ‘yan ng farmers,” he added.
Kadiwa is a market system that sells agricultural goods at affordable prices to help poor Filipino families. It is available through Kadiwa on Wheels, Kadiwa Retail, and Kadiwa Online.
On July 27, the PZMC and the DA-MIMAROPA reached a deal, with both parties agreeing to expand the operation of the Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita initiative. It would also enhance farmer and fisherfolk organizations and cooperatives to provide a steady supply of healthy and cheap agricultural goods for local customers and public markets.
Based on the department’s statement, the PZMC will serve as the lead consolidator of the harvests and will connect to the market by formulating some strategies. The products of the farmers will be introduced through different digital marketing in various social networking channels and within their website.
The PZMC will be in charge of the negotiation and looking for partners with the capability to purchase in wholesale with justified buying prices for the farmers. The income of the cooperative will be shared with farmer-member and will invest in facilities for the benefit of the development of farmers on the income and production side.
While the DA MIMAROPA under Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita Program will provide technical support, materials to use for selling, and assistance for qualified groups of farmers and fisherfolk to help them manage their products. It could also fix the process of selling their agricultural produce to enrich their marketing skills and income.
Gastanes said that PZMC will focus on inventory management or the system of creating farmers’ groups supplying in volume as it has a potential market. He added that this is what the PZMC plans to upscale in the regional scope which could be purchased by clients in Manila and even the international market.
He said that this could also resolve the existing oversupply of some agricultural products they observed. The well-preserved oversupply products can also be processed.
“All of these, once processed or ‘yong may mga mahahabang shelf life na kaya ma-cold storage. We are planning to consolidate it with other commodities from the region and bring it to Luzon clients or international clients. Iyon ang sinasabi namin na dini-develop namin na system right now. Inventory management,” he said.
The PZMC also has an ongoing community store run by women, Juana, which serves like Kadiwa within the city and will be soon launched in MIMAROPA. He cited that one of the dilemmas of digital marketing companies is purchasing in retail, but in the bigger consumption, it must be in volume.
“Retails are good kasi ‘yon talaga ang heart but if you look at the bigger chunks of consumption, volume talaga ang usapan. Si Farm Konek, in community-based farm management system na iki-create natin kay MIMAROPA na sinisimulan na natin today with City Agriculture Office, ‘yan ang future kasi nandyan ang volume,” he said.
Dr. Celso Olido, chief of DA MIMAROPA Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) said that the farmers are more concentrated in production than marketing. The platform of PZMC will serve as a medium to help farmers and fisherfolk connect with the market.
“Noong malaon na, sinabi nila na wala naman sir pumupunta sa palengke at bawal lumabas. Sabi ko, kayo ang magdala sa mga mamimili at gawin niyong strategy online. Ang Project Zacchaeus ay medyo advance sila, nakagawa sila ng platform kaya ‘yong Go Palengke ang ginamit nila para mabenta ang produkto ng farmers,” he said.
Olido said that DA is willing to assist as long as there are interested groups to join in digital marketing.
“Kailangan palakasin natin sila at talagang i-cluster. Ang clustering and consolidation approach na ginagawa natin, so ‘yong magkakapareha na commodity, ika-cluster natin ‘yan at para ma-consolidate ang kanilang produkto kasi mas madaling magbenta kapag meron kang volume. Ganon ang mangyayari ngayon kapag mga kooperatibe na tinutulungan natin,” he said.
DA MIMAROPA partnered with Tagani.ph in 2020 that brings agricultural products to market in Manila, he said. Olido stressed that the advantage of the online platform is it can help to match the producers to the institutional market or actual buyer.
He added that based on the agreement, the PZMC also eyes to hit the international market and connect with established foreign platforms.
“Kaya wala kaming tigil sa AMAD sa pagtulong sa clustering and consolidation. Kapag na-cluster natin ang mga commodity na meron tayo, malakas ang magiging ano (production) natin sa market, mayroon tayong maibibigay na volume kung kailangan nila ang volume. At mas madali tayo makaka-respond kung consolidated ang mga produce ng farmers at fisherfolk,” he said.
Olido said that the online Kadiwa is a joint effort of DA and the private sector. It will exert assistance in concerns that will address the battle cry of the department on the abundant harvest and high income.
“Madali ‘yong masaganang ani, ang mahirap na parte ay mataas na kita kasi paano mo iko-convert ‘yong mataas na ani na kumita ng maganda ang mga magsasaka at mangingisda. Iyon din ang pinopontirya natin sa pagdadaos ng ganitong undertaking ng DA at ng private sector,” he said.
DA is also looking in populated towns and encourages municipal agriculture officers to identify groups who would like to set up a Kadiwa within their areas. Those physical Kadiwa stations can be also linked to online Kadiwa whenever there is a surplus of supplies and shortage experienced.
Gastanes, on the other hand, said that they are trying to design a new business model where a farmer will be paid within 24 to 48 hours after selling products.
“To help them improve in farming, either by bringing in a technology kapag kumita ang coop, of course part of our advocacy is to purchase technology and somehow padaliin ang proseso ng pagsasaka ng isang magsasaka,” he said.
It will help to reduce payment for labor which is also a struggle on their part.
“Nakita natin na ang dami rin nila dilemma sa inventory management, sa kanilang mga kasamahan sa association, sira ang values, may away-away. Doon kami pumasok as mentors na lang din in small ways. Kami na ang nagsabi na why not we create a business model na inclusive ang disenyo, community at the same time ay sabay-sabay kami aangat,” he said.