For those health conscious people who are asking “where to buy organic vegetables in Philippines/Cebu?“, this will be an interesting update for you.
PBSP(Philippine Business for Social Progress) recently opened the Kumprahan Super Merkado where fresh organic vegetables can be bought in, guess what, FARM GATE PRICES!
I recall visiting Cantipla a few months before to study the streams and ecology for our class. I noticed that the prices of the vegetables there are really low. My teacher was tempted to buy sacks of these and some of my classmates even did their veggie shopping there.
Now imagine buying your onions at 35php a kilo. Impossible? Well PBSP has made it possible. Is this a joke? Is there some kind of middleman magic to make this happen? Well PBSP actually is trying to eliminate the middlemen and thus make the vegetable and poultry price drop down.
The Farm Visit
Along with Mark, Vernon, and Jorich, I got to visit two of the farms harvesting these organic goods.
We had the rare opportunity to ride with one of the important people who made this happen: Mr. Jon Ramos himself. While he was driving us to the farm we got to ask him some questions about this whole thing.
He explained to us that the project of PBSP is supported by the government and this acts as a Quasi-business as a form of social entrepreneurship. The main goal of the main goal of this is to help both the farmers and the consumers meet so that there will better savings.
The problem with how the business model works for the consumer-distributor is that the product becomes too expensive after passing through “middlemen”. Even more disadvantageous is this model to the farmers which is why you come to wonder, “Why are farmers poor?” This whole new model of business will hopefully help the farmers progress and also encourage consumers to purchase fresh Organic Vegetables in Farm Gate prices.
This is now the more personal side of Sir Jon Ramos as he explained that this inspiration comes from his college days when he had some sort of business being a trader of vegetables in Carbon. His quasi-business model is also inspired from the practices of farmers in the USA. Why can’t our farmers be as rich as the ones in the US? This will hopefully bring a better future for the Filipino Farmers.
We first arrived in our first stop which was Sudlon farm. The place had vast tracks of lands just filled with vegetables. What was most noticeable were the fresh Lettuce sprouting in long lines.
I was enjoying the nice fresh view when I heard one of the men talking about the major produces (I forgot his name and I mistakenly thought he owned some of the farms there, he apparently had farms elsewhere). He mentioned that the major crops are: Lettuce, Pechay, Radish and Sibuyas. These are according to the demand in the market.
The major demands could possibly be attributed to Koreans who are looking for these
vegetables. (Think Kimchi, though I think that’s made of Cabbages) Apart from just the Koreans, restaurants could be looking for these vegetables too.
One of the things I did notice about the farms is the usual traditional methods of ploughing the fields. I come to wonder if the farmers can learn new methods to improve their production. Philippines is supposedly rich in Agricultural resources. I do hope that the government could put a little investment in improving the methods of farming.
Maybe we could some day use other innovations in farming to speed up development and production
I couldn’t resist a shot with the Plough. Too bad I didn’t have a carabao within reach to complete this shot:
Cantipla Organic Farms
Our next stop was the Cantipla Farm. The farms there were more popular for their Eggplants and Flowers.
We were guided by Sir Lei in the Chili fields, Rose bushes, and Eggplant lines.
One of the reasons why I love Cantipla so much is because nearby is the Tabunan Forest. I’ve been dying to go inside this last Virgin forest of Cebu. There lives the Cebu Flowerpecker and the Cebu Cinammon Tree, both very very very (yes I repeated very three times to emphasize the rarity and importance) species. But I guess with Tabunan forest being out of the way, I guess I’ll have to wait for a next time. Sigh
The place is amazing, the farms were cool, the whole project of PBSP is wonderful! But to make this all successful it also needs the cooperation of the consumers to learn how to wisely purchase in Kumprahan Super Merkado (which can be found in Bridges Town Square).
I hope this continues to grow even more. More power to Sir Jon Ramos and PBSP!
More pictures of the visit:
Some Flowers of Cantipla: