Jul 7, 2020

The pandemic may have cast a shadow over other issues like the plight of farmers now struggling to sell their crops in a volatile market but thankfully there are new initiatives that aim to remedy this.

The mall might be the last place where you would expect to buy fresh produce at low prices. Blame the demand and supply chain. But a new farmers market located at malls(!) wants to change that.

Farmers’ Produce, a market initiative by SM Supermalls and the Department of Agriculture (DA), aims to give a platform to farmers and producers where they could reach the urban dwellers—where else but through malls?

[READ: You can now buy fruits and vegetables in bulk from DA’s Kadiwa Online]

“Through this project, SM malls across the country will be selling fresh and organic produce to help our farmers. This is only the beginning and we look forward to implementing more initiatives that will support local farmers and small businesses, to help boost the country’s economy during this time,” said SM Supermalls president Steven Tan.

Not just that, unlike other mall-supplier setups, SM is waiving fees for participating farmers thus lowering the margin at which farmers have to sell their crops to earn. 

“This partnership project will help give the farmers opportunity to earn a higher income,” said DA Secretary William Dar.

By DA’s estimate, customers too can save 15 to 20 percent compared to other markets.

Just how competitive their prices are to that of palengke’s? Well, if you’re lucky, you can get a kilo of medium-sized tomatoes for P10!

“Presently, in the case of tomato for one, there is so much supply and that’s why when we bring these tomatoes from Ifugao for example to Metro Manila where the market is open, the farmers will be getting the right price as they should normally have during normal times,” Dar said.

That’s one way to help out Ifugao farmers and prevent tons of perfectly good surplus tomatoes from going to waste.

[READ: Tons of tomatoes from Ifugao farmers are wasted each day. Here’s how to help]

You won’t need to worry about what to do with tomatoes either as we have some recipes that star these plump fruits on our Comfort Kitchen Instagram TV series.

The initiative also has the Restaurant Owners of the Philippines (Resto PH) on board to connect farmers directly to restaurateurs. This is expected to encourage producers to harvest quality crops in large volumes as well as train them in a market-oriented approach in production.

Other than fresh produce, Farmers’ Produce also partners with small processed food businesses that make vegan items like this mushroom bagoong.

“When restaurants close, farmers suffer because we are such a big buying block for their produce. It will take a long time for restaurants to recover. We hope this project will do a lot of good for our farmers by bringing their produce to our table,” said Eric Teng, president of Resto PH and Mango Tree Bistro.

This weekend, Farmers’ Produce will be at SM Aura Skypark Lawn, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and at The Podium on July 15-17.


Photos courtesy of SM Supermalls

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Read more:

This tomato jam helps Ifugao farmers and prevents produce from going to waste

Tons of tomatoes from Ifugao farmers are wasted each day. Here’s how to help

You can now buy fruits and vegetables in bulk from DA’s Kadiwa Online

TAGS: Department of Agriculture farmers farmers’ produce fresh produce help farmers market palengke sm supermalls tomatoes