Farmer’s Present: Farm-to-table made easier

Marymil M. Cabrera

FARMERS play one of the most important roles in this game called life. They’ve been providing fresh produce for everyone nonstop, rain or shine.

OhMyGenie! chief marketing genie Enrique San Juan, together with Dual Story’s brand strategist Johanna Michelle Lim and Seed4Com’s founder Dann Diez together with Mt. Manunggal EcoVillage (a movement of farmers and citizens that aims to rehabilitate Mt. Manunggal, Cebu and convert it into a thriving and sustainable community for all), launched an initiative called Farmer’s Present.

Mt. Manunggal EcoVillage is composed of 481 families of farmers in the uplands of Balamban, Cebu. Their current livelihood relies heavily on farming, abaca fiber production, weaving and eco-tourism. With support from the regional offices of the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Trade and Industry, they’re pushing new upcoming products like Ube Jam, Ube powder, Cocoa and Coffee, to name a few.

The team wants to empower the farmers to continue their noble way of life while proving that it can be economically viable for them to stay in their community.

Enrique shared that after having been around community-based enterprises for quite some time now, one of the main challenges that the farmers encounter is the lack of consistent market channels. Farmers rely mostly on resellers or middlemen. When the products are bought in bulk, margins are slim or close to none. The farmers would then just sell their products at a low price and let go of their inventory so it doesn’t spoil or rot.

After identifying this gap, Enrique, Johanna Michelle and Dan wanted to create a way for farmers to directly sell their products to the consumers, which will allow them to post retail prices, giving them better margins.

“So the questions raised were, what can we do to connect farmers directly to city dwellers? What can we create so that those who produce food for us will be given more importance through fair compensation, and what can we build to nurture a value of appreciation for those who toil under the sun to make food more accessible for most of us? That’s when we came up with Farmer’s Present.

We wanted to highlight farmers as one of the most selfless and generous providers in our society,” Enrique shared.

From then, the team agreed that the best way to help the farmers was to create an online store for them to market their products, so consumers can buy directly from them. The team decided to bring this vision to life by providing farmers online presence through the e-commerce site OhMyGrocery! by OhMyGenie! for free. Dual Story is the branding agency partner that has supported this initiative by providing Mt. Manunggal EcoVillage and Farmer’s Present their identity from the logo, collateral and social media management services, for free.

Seed4Com, a non-govermental organization, is also helping in the community engagement development to increase more participation from the residents and invite future partners and stakeholders. Part of the plan is to create a subscription model so customers can receive vegetables directly from farmers on a weekly or bi-monthly basis, allowing farmers to have a consistent income stream with better margins, while the patrons or subscribers will have a secured source of naturally grown seasonal vegetables. This will provide a sense of security for both parties while building a community that is committed to supporting each other.

Two of the main pillars in these efforts are to create more awareness of the importance of the role local farmers play in our society, and living a healthy lifestyle through the food that one puts on his plate.

One can support this initiative by ordering his vegetables through store.ohmygrocery.com. Simply add the Farmer’s Present Veggie Box to your cart, choose an available delivery date, and follow the payment process. Make sure you are logged in. Registration is absolutely free.