A Better World rises in UP Diliman to benefit farmers and consumers

HSBC Philippines
UP Better World
Better World UP located in UP Village, Diliman, Quezon City. Photo from San Miguel Corporation’s official Facebook page.

A Better World is rising for farmers and consumers at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman.

Better World UP is San Miguel Corporation’s (SMC) latest initiative to aid Luzon farmers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The agricultural hub is set to take place on an unused property of SMC in UP Village, Diliman, Quezon City.

As COVID-19 lockdown measures affected food distribution in the country, San Miguel Corporation with its partner Rural Rising PH found a way to bring fresh produce from farmers all over Luzon to consumers in Metro Manila.

Rural Rising PH, co-founded by Ace Estrada, is a social enterprise dedicated to harnessing the potential of the countryside and fostering rural prosperity through agri-entrepreneurship.

Farmers can sell their harvests in the sustainable marketplace made available to consumers and re-sellers at farm gate prices. SMC and Rural Rising PH will also carry out programs to develop skills for farmers and consumers alike. Eventually, Estrada says the property can double as a food distribution center, which will donate excess produce to poor communities in the city.

“With this partnership with San Miguel Corporation, we are able to move produce that would otherwise go to waste, pay farmers the right price, and bring it to where it is most needed, where it could do the most good,” Estrada said.

Ramon Ang, SMC’s President and COO, hopes to boost the incomes of Luzon farmers with its latest project.

“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,” Ang said.

Earlier this year, SMC had already opened its first local farm produce stands at Petron Katipunan, near La Vista subdivision and Petron Zabarte station in Caloocan. These SMC fresh produce stores support the Department of Agriculture (DA) “Kadiwa ng Ani at Kita”, which is a market system that sells produce at fairly low prices.

SMC has already established two “Better World” facilities. Opened in September 2019, Better World Tondo is a learning facility and food bank which aims to help some of the poorest barangays in Manila.

The second is a COVID-19 testing lab for 70,000 employees called Better World Edsa, which opened this year.

SEND WELL WISHES in the comments below to the people behind Better World UP as it seeks to benefit farmers and consumers.

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