The marketplace, which will serve as SMC’s third Better World sustainability project, is aimed at harnessing the potential of the countryside and promoting rural prosperity through agri-entrepreneurship.
It will rise on a property owned by SMC in UP Village, Diliman, Quezon City.
SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang hopes to empower farmers from all over Luzon during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The lockdown and restrictions in mobility have been especially hard on farmers. They’re unable to market their produce. In some provinces, they’ve been forced to throw away a season’s harvest of vegetables simply because they can’t get their goods to market or because restaurants have closed. The curbed demand has caused prices to plummet.
Together with Rural Rising Ph, we hope to further boost the incomes of farmers, particularly by aggregating their fresh produce and selling directly to customers here in Metro Manila,” he said.
Ang said San Miguel Foundation and Rural Rising would likewise develop programs that would teach farming skills and cottage industries to both farmers and consumers.
Over time, the property can be used as a food distribution center, where excess produce will be donated to urban poor communities.
During the two-month lockdown, when farm produce could not be transported to major markets, SMC committed to buy more raw materials for food production from local farmers. This included 78 million kilos of corn from farmer cooperatives all over Luzon. It also bought 5,000 liters of excess milk from carabao farmers and offered to provide R&D support to maximize the shelf life of their product.