The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said its Agraryo Merkado project in Masbate has earned for farmers a gross income of some P627,000 in 10 days by selling their agricultural products and byproducts at a local bazaar.
Through the continuous operation of the project, farmers from Masbate will be earning additional income every week by selling their products and byproducts through the DAR’s project.
As part of the scheme, every week, 8 of the 20 invited agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) will be 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, Herald Tambal, Masbate’s provincial agrarian reform chief, said in a statement.
“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 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 assist farmers in setting up bazaars and selling their goods, even for those unable to come as they are in remote locations.”
As of the end of May, sales of processed foods reached P145,922, with the best-selling items being beef tapa, dried pusit, dried fish, pork tocino, and pork longanisa, which racked up sales of 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 10-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.”