LEGAZPI CITY — Masbate farmers’ organizations are now earning additional income every week by promoting their products through the “Agraryo Merkado” project organized by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
The farmers’ organizations have earned an impressive P627,116 in just ten days of selling or ten Thursdays since it started on March 23.
Every week, eight of the twenty (20) invited agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) are selling their products at the local bazaar at the DAR Masbate provincial office compound.
“Due to limited space at the DAR compound, the groups alternate each week, ensuring that there are always readily available products on display in front of the office for customers to buy,” said Herald Tambal, Masbate provincial agrarian reform chief.
“The farmers sell their locally processed food items and harvested farm produce directly to consumers at fair-trade prices, ensuring that the food is fresh, safe, and nutritious,” Tambal added.
Tambal said that the DAR continues to provide guidance and assistance to these farmers so that they can effectively connect to direct buyers and eventually convert their crops or products into profitable sales.
“Each week, our personnel generously assist farmers in setting up bazaars and selling their goods, even for those unable to come due to remote locations,” said Tambal.
As of the end of May 2023, the sold processed foods reached P145,922 in total sales, with the best-selling items being beef tapa, dried pusit, dried fish, pork tocino, and pork longanisa, which sold more than P90,432. Other processed foods made and sold by the farmers include fish paste, chili garlic, bagoong alamang, papaya pickles, chayote mixed pickles, bamboo shoots pickles, salabat, turmeric, coco vinegar, and pure honey.
Scrumptious Filipino sweets and desserts like carmelado, squash molido, peanut molido, peanut butter, sampaloc candy, peanut piñato, buko conserva, banana chips, rice kropek, and chocolate moron are also among the popular commodities.
Well-milled rice sales recorded P185,115 in total income, with white rice being the most purchased, generating P105,974, followed by red, brown, black, and glutinous rice varieties with combined sales of P49,841. Poultry and meat products, such as eggs, dressed chicken, and hog meat, gained a total of P176,125, while fruits, root crops, and vegetables brought in P140,753 during the ten-day selling period.
The Agraryo Merkado initiative has also expanded to include fertilizers and hand-made products such as baskets made from ‘nito’ grass.
Jessie M. Dadula, chairman of the Baclay Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Consumers Cooperative (BARBCC) in Milagros, Masbate, expressed joy at how the Agraryo Merkado project became a game-changer for farmers like him.
Dadula, a vegetable and rice farmer, regularly brings fresh vegetables such as okra, water gourd, eggplant, chili, and papaya to the local bazaar every Thursday. In the past, Dadula said, they had to travel long distances to sell their vegetables, and often not all of them were sold.
“But with Agraryo Merkado, we just need to display our products, and they are sold out immediately. The same goes for our rice harvest, which used to take a long time to be paid by creditors, but now they are always sold out in the tiangge,” he said.