Bulacan farmers group sells 4 tons of produce online since lockdown

MANILA, Philippines – Three weeks into the enhanced community quarantine, a farmers group in Bulacan has sold nearly 4 tons of vegetables to online customers mostly from Quezon City

"Bulacan farmers from Norzagaray and San Jose Del Monte towns have sold almost four tons or 4,000 kilos of various vegetable produce to consumers in Quezon City and non-government organizations conducting relief operations and food kitchens for frontliners and marginalized sectors," according to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). 

The online Bagsakan farmers market was launched on March 21 on Facebook. Among its initial customers were residents of Quezon City and members of churches, religious congregations, and homeowners associations. They place their orders online.  

The farmers bring their crops to pick up points in Quezon City once a week, making it accessible to customers amid the ban on public transport. 

The Bulacan farmers supply seasonal vegetables and fruits including eggplant, string beans, bittergourd, sweet potato, cassava, banana heart, snow cabbage, and saba or sweet plantain among others.

They adopt biodiversity farming techniques and grow their produce in small family-farmed plots.

Antonio Flores, member of Tanggol Magsasaka, said farmers have been seeling "almost at cost" to help people affected by lockdown measures. 

Part of the proceeds also go to Sagip Kanayunan, which provides relief to farming families. 

"Farmers fully realize their crucial role as food security frontliners. They sell their crops almost at cost to people who are also affected by the lockdown. The Bagsakan Farmers Market promotes peoples collective action and compassion among sectors during this pandemic," Flores said. 

Cecilia Rapiz, member of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan (AMB-KMP), said they're happy to be of help to frontliners and ordinary people.

Rapiz asked the government to help farmers around the country. She said everybody needs cash aid, seedlings, organic fertilizer, farm tools, farm animals, and production subsidies to support non-stop food production.

“We need aid, not loans," Rapiz said. – Rappler.com