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This Lady Bought Rice Through an App; The Farmers Wrote Her Back

'I just bought rice, and here I am being thanked like I moved mountains.'
IMAGE DIANNE DEPRA/PIXABAY
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The Philippines is one of the last countries in Asia that has yet to fulfill any meaningful agrarian reform, ultimately failing to unshackle farmers from their bondage to the soil. Farmers are even forced to sell crops to traders at measly prices, which is why many of them never make a profit, but incur more debt. One app seeks to disrupt that cycle by connecting farmers and consumers. 

“[I bought] Mindoro rice from Session Groceries and got this note with my purchase,” shares Dianne Depra in a Facebook post. “I just bought rice, ok. From an app. Then had it delivered. My fat ass exerted next-to-zero effort and here I am being thanked like I moved mountains. Heartbreaking.”

Below is the full text of the farmers’ heartwarming letter.

Photo by Dianne Depra.
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Kami po na mga kasaping magsasaka ng Naujan Farmers’ Association (NaFA) dito sa bayan ng Naujan, Oriental Mindoro ay taos-pusong nagpapasalamat sa lahat ng tumangkilik sa aming produktong bigas na Mindoro Rice. Nais po naming ipaabot sa inyo na napakalaking tulong sa aming magsasaka ang inyong ginagawa. Dahil po sa inyong pag-ayuda ay nabibigyan po kami ng bagong pag-asa upang ipagpatuloy ang aming ginagawa. Muli po ay ang aming pasasalamat, mabuhay po kayo.

Ang inyo pong pagbili ay nakatulong na mabili ng mas mataas kaysa sa regular na pagbili ng palay na magagamit naming pambayad utang at pagbili ng binhi upang makapagtanim ulit, habang ang ibang kikitain ay aming paiikutin upang makabili ulit ng palay na ipa-process para sa susunod na bentahan. Ang kikitain sa gawaing ito paghahati-hatian o tinatawag na dividend upang hindi lamang iilan ang mabahagian ngunit ang 2,200 na kasapi ng NaFA. Muli, salamat sa napakalaking tulong.

(We, the farmers of Naujan Farmers Association [NaFA] here in the town of Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, extend our deepest gratitude to all who supported our product, Mindoro Rice. We want to tell you that your purchase is a very big help to us farmers. Because of your help, we are given new hope to continue our livelihood. Again, we thank you, mabuhay po kayo.

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Your purchase has helped us sell our product at a higher price than regular. With your purchase, we will be able to pay our debts so that we can buy fresh seeds for replanting rice. Other profits from your purchase will be used to buy more seeds for the next season. Profits from this will also go to our dividend, so that not only a few but all of the 2,200 members of NaFA will benefit. Again, thank you for your very big help.)

Last month, rice prices in several provinces plummeted to as low as P7 due to an influx of imported rice. Rice traders also buy farmers’ products at lower prices before selling them to consumers at higher prices. Session Groceries seeks to improve farmers’ income by directly connecting farmers with consumers, eliminating middlemen or traders in the process.

Session Groceries is a farm-to-table app that connects local farmers with consumers. It promotes sustainability and educates communities on the benefits of buying local produce.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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