Ours is an agricultural country, but everyday we read about the plight of our farmers—from agricultural lands being developed into industrial lots to oversupply of produce which instead of reaching their consumers end up in landfills.
The once model country in agriculture in Asia is now the biggest rice importer in the world, expected to reach 2.5 million metric tons by year-end.
Small wonder many farmers turn to much greener pastures and urge their children to pursue anything but farming.
To lend a hand to the very people responsible for the food that we eat, Ayala Malls has partnered with the Department of Agriculture (DA), Ayala Foundation, and the Restaurant Owners Association of the Philippines (Resto PH) to launch BuyANI Fresh Produce Market.
“BuyANI is geared to help Filipino farmers sell their fresh produce and rebuild their businesses as they steadily get back on their feet and push forward,” said Ayala Malls president Jennylle Tupaz.
“We understand the struggles of the heroes of our agriculture industry and local restaurateurs alike. By bringing them closer to the consumers through this project, we hope we are able to help alleviate some of their difficulties and contribute positively to the industry as a whole.”
Through the project, customers can shop fresh produce and regional food items directly from the people who grew them at Ayala Malls.
Some of the items for sale include organic vegetables and fruits, fresh dairy products, herbs, wines, coffee, and other locally cultivated items in well-curated stalls at DA-controlled prices.
“The DA hopes that with this partnership with Resto PH and Ayala Malls, we can open additional/alternative markets to help the farmers and fisherfolk sell their produce/products. An assured market and decent income will encourage our farmer producers, who we refer as ‘backliners’ amidst this pandemic, to continue to produce food,” said Agriculture secretary William Dar.
As awareness and patronage for organic, fresh produce are on the rise, Resto PH president Eric Teng shared, “We are very happy to be part of the BuyANI Market project because as restaurateurs, we always try to source the best high quality ingredients. The fact that we can do this, at the same time being able to fully support our hard working farmers, is truly gratifying.”
The BuyANI Market will be held on September 11-13 at Glorietta, September 18-20 at Alabang Town Center, September 25-27 at UP Town Center, October 2-4 at Ayala Malls The 30th, October 9-11 at TriNoma, October 16-18 at Market! Market!, and October 23-25 at Bonifacio High Street.
Shoppers are recommended to follow health protocols such as physical distancing and wearing of face masks and face shield, as well as bring their own shopping bags.
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Meanwhile, SM Supermalls’ series of farm-to-table caravans Farmers’ Produce is returning this weekend at SM Mall of Asia.
Organized in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Resto PH, it brings fresh fruits and vegetables straight from farmers directly to consumers.
“The pandemic is far from over and Farmers’ Produce will continue with its goal of helping provide livelihood to our farmers,” said Teng.
Farmers’ Produce, located at Level 1 of South Entertainment Mall, will feature various local farms including Batangas City Banana Growers Association, Cada Farmers Agriculture Association, CocoPlus Aquarian Development Corporation, Farmer Juan Ranch Corporation, HDRD Tsuiteru Food Bar, Mama Agnes Enterprises, Munting Paraiso ni Yoly Farm, QueenB Apiaries, and Sarai Fruits and Vegetables Trading.
“Farmers’ Produce has given us the opportunity to sell our products beyond our farms and localities. Oftentimes, many of our products are wasted because only a few people buy them. But now, we get to bring our products to different places and sell them to a lot of shoppers,” enthused Ma. Joyce C. Villota, sales officer of Munting Paraiso ni Yoly Farm.
“Aside from that, this also allows shoppers to show their support to local farmers and give them the push that they need to get through this pandemic.”
Customers can get fresh eggplants, cabbages, pechay, potatoes, bananas, meat and fish, dairy and coconut products, rice, seedlings, herbs, and many more at the September 13-16 caravan.
On top of that, several restaurants will be selling delicious meals that were prepared using the farmers’ ingredients at pop-up booths at Farmers’ Produce.
After the MOA leg, Farmers’ Produce will continue to travel to SM Megamall on September 25-27 and October 2-4, and at SM Southmall on October 16-18 and 23-25.