Ramon Ang's San Miguel Launches Sustainable Marketplace to Support Unsung Heroes—Our Farmers
San Miguel Corporation (SMC) just launched its third sustainable community center to support the country’s unsung heroes—our farmers. “Better World UP” is a joint project between San Miguel Corporation and social enterprise Rural Rising Philippines, which took an unused plot of land among San Miguel’s properties and transformed it into a fully functional marketplace.
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To support the country’s struggling agricultural sector, Better World UP purchased excess produce from farmers at a better-than-farmgate price, giving farmers a chance to prevent product waste and to boost their income.
The community will also offer classes in agricultural entrepreneurship for farmers, and any excess food will be donated to urban poor communities. This way, the project can support two struggling communities at once.
The philanthropic sustainability project of San Miguel has already benefited two other vulnerable communities that are struggling during this pandemic. The first Better World focused on feeding Manila’s poorest district, Tondo, where Ang is from. Meanwhile, the second aimed to boost the country’s testing capacity.
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Here’s what San Miguel Corporation president and COO Ramon S. Ang had to say about the initiative:
“The lockdown and restrictions in mobility have been especially hard on farmers. They’re unable to market their produce. In some provinces, they’ve been forced to throw away a season’s harvest of vegetables simply because they can’t get their goods to market or because restaurants have closed. The curbed demand has caused prices to plummet.
“You have all this waste—food being thrown or given away by the truckload or fed to animals for lack of buyers. In towns worst-hit by COVID-19 restrictions, you can smell tomatoes rotting in the ravines before you see the helplessness of it all.
“On the other hand, you have the urban poor of Metro Manila with little or no access to food. With this partnership with San Miguel Corporation, we are able to move produce that would otherwise go to waste, pay farmers the right price, and bring it to where it is most needed, where it could do the most good.”