Big food companies commit to buy direct from farmers—Manny Piñol

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Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel "Manny" Piñol shared the good news for our local farmers that the big companies in the country were pledged to directly buy onions to them.

Among the companies that commits are SM Supermarket, Rustan's and Shopwise Group, Century Canning, Shakey's, CDO, Max's Restaurant, Jollibee, McDonald's, Metro Gaisano Group, Robinson's, and Fresh Dept.

Piñol said the leaders of onion farmers in Nueva Ecija cried and were very grateful after hearing the great news that finally, the long wait is over. 

After Sec. Piñol aimed to finish the burden of the onion farmers. He right away made an action to be able to help the local farmers and correct the wrongdoings of the private groups who bought a high supply of imported goods.

Aside from it, the companies also wanted other supply of agriculture products, not just onions. Such as organically grown rice, bangus, white shrimps, fruits, vegetables and even ube and kaong.

The Department of Agriculture promised to the buyers that they will support farmers by providing them 'modern technology and financing support.'

For Sec. Piñol, it was the best opportunity to help and support the farmers. And give them the better future they deserved.

Read his full statement:
BIG FOOD COMPANIES COMMITTO BUY DIRECT FROM FARMERS

By Manny Piñol

Leaders of Nueva Ecija onion farmers shed tears last night after officials of the country's biggest supermarkets and food companies committed to directly buy from them and no longer rely on imported onions.

The event marked the end of the suffering of the onion farmers who have been looking for buyers for their produce which is already in danger of rotting in cold storage facilities which they rent.

It could also be the start of a new era in Philippine agriculture where the big institutional buyers are linked up with the farmers by the Dept. of Agriculture to ensure that they are not exploited by traders and middlemen.

In last night's event, SM Supermarket represented by Joey Mendoza, Rustan's and Shopwise Group led CEO Irwin Lee and Edgar Fernandez; Century Canning CEO Chris Po with Rex Agarrado; Shakey's President Vic Gregorio and head of procurement Jun Abad; CDO CEO Jerome Ong and his team; Max's Restaurant Group CEO Robert Rota and his team; Jollibee Group of Tony Tan represented by Gisella Tiongson, McDonald's, Metro Gaisano Group; Robinson's Group headed by general manager Jody Gadia and Fresh Dept. head Lynne de Jesus and several other food companies pledged to buy the remaining stocks of the onion farmers from Nueva Ecija.

They also asked the Dept. of Agriculture to link them up with the suppliers of other agricultural products that their supermarkets and processing companies need.

Century Packing's Rex Agarrado, for example, admitted that they are using about 6-metric tons of imported onion in their Tuna canning every year.

He said that if there is available supply, the company would be willing to source the onions locally.

Apparently touched by the gesture of the big companies, the farmer leaders cried as they thanked their prospective business partners.

They also told the big buyers that they were willing to sell their onion at a price which would be 10 percent lower than the price of the imported onions that the supermarkets and food processing companies are buying now.

During the 2-hour-long meeting at the Manila Golf Club, sponsored by former congressman Martin Romualdez, president of the club, the supermarkets and food companies also told the DA officials including Undersecretaries Evelyn Laviña for High Value Crops, Bernadette Romulo-Puyat for Administration and Marketing and Ariel Cayanan for Operations and Assistant Secretary Federico Laciste jr. for Operations, that they wanted to buy other commodities straight from the farmers aside from onions.

Among the items the supermarkets and food companies needed were organically grown rice, bangus, white shrimps, fruits, vegetables and even ube and kaong.

The DA promised the buyers that it would support the farmers in producing the commodities needed by the market through modern technology and financing support.

For the onion farmers of Nueva Ecija, the DA committed a cold storage facility, modern farming technology and bridge financing through the Agricultural Credit and Police Council represented by its head Jocelyn Badiola.

In a little over two hours, the problems which confronted the onion farmers of Nueva Ecija were addressed and the big door for a better future for other farmers was also opened.

Last night, history was made.

God is great!
Source: Manny Piñol

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