New Portal Connects Filipino Farmers with Consumers
In the Philippines, farmers can now sell directly to consumers through a digital platform that has moved over 260 tons of fresh fruits and vegetables and recorded more than 7.15 million pesos ($148,841.55) worth of transactions since its soft launch in April 2020.
The Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), one of the proponents of the portal, said DELIVER-e has helped around 600 farmers in Luzon and Mindanao by doubling their income and reducing food waste from 50% to only 5%. The platform continues to add more players with DTI committing to further improve the system.
Other e-commerce initiatives in Mindanao were also launched last year to help small producers, many of whom were badly hit by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis. The Mindanao Development Authority opened the MinDATienda Portal to help market and trade farm products. A software company in Davao City created Buylocal.ph in partnership with DTI and the Davao Chamber of Commerce and Industry to promote homegrown enterprises and help them shift to e-commerce quickly.
COVID-19 crisis and beyond
Officially launched on 14 December 2020, DELIVER-e addresses the difficulties faced by farmers in selling their produce because of community quarantines that were imposed to stop the spread of the disease. The project also aims to improve the agriculture value chain and the country’s food security even beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
Other project proponents are the Department of Agriculture (DA), private sector partners, farmer cooperatives, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“This initiative is all about bringing farm produce closer to consumers and cutting layers of traders. Through technology and innovation, it will be game-changing not only for our farmers but also for our consumers,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez in a news release. “Our main goal is to increase production and ensure supply stability for basic necessities and prime commodities through new business models.”
He said DTI and DA are working together to boost farmers’ income, improve their access to processors and markets, and deliver fresher products to consumers.
DELIVER-e is an end-to-end market-based system developed by Filipino tech startup, Insight Supply Chain Solutions. The platform integrates e-commerce and logistics application services from consolidation point to central warehousing facility, and then to last-mile delivery services to reach end-clients through e-marketplaces Gulay Ng Bayan and Curaytive Farm and its affiliate City Farms Philippines.
In a news release issued in April, USAID said it supports the Philippine government’s efforts to help Filipino farmers transport their produce to the market and address food security issues. DELIVER-e is part of a ₱900-million USAID initiative to advance the country's competitiveness and boost trade and investment, especially for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises.
“We are proud to work with the Philippine government and private sector to open new distribution channels for agricultural produce, which will restore farmers’ incomes and support food security,” said U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim.
“Deliver-e has given us hope. Even if the COVID-19 pandemic persists, we now have the means to sell our produce and have a steady income. We don’t need to worry about our vegetables and fruits going to waste," Mylene Rafer, a 38-year-old pineapple farmer from Camarines Norte in Luzon, said in the USAID news release.