Unfazed by the shenanigans of unscrupulous traders and profiteers, one of the most successful food terminals in the country pushed back and rolled out their online business-to-business (B2B) platform for the produce of Nueva Vizcaya.
With help of the government and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal Inc. (NVAT) launched last month its NVAT Fresh Online Platform (NFOP).
The e-commerce platform was designed to match the marketing needs of farmers in Nueva Vizcaya with the supply requirements of retailers, groceries, food companies, restaurants and similar establishments not only in Metro Manila, but the entire country.
Nueva Vizcaya is certainly not the only or even the first food terminal in the country, but it is one of the most successful.
The La Trinidad Trading Post in Benguet may be the most profitable, and the food hubs in Urdaneta City in Pangasinan and Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija are close and keen competitors.
But NVAT is racing up from behind and shows the great things local governments can do when they listen to their constituents.
Former Nueva Vizcaya Gov. Rodolfo Agbayani put up NVAT only in 2015 with money the province won in a competition organized by the Department of Agriculture.
Agbayani used the prize money to build a facility and farmers, both big and mall, soon gained interest in the project.
While the government initially put up a fourth of the terminal’s capital, private individuals and cooperatives now control more than 80 percent of the corporation, which is managed entirely by private individuals.
“Through the platform, farmers can leverage competitive pricing, secure a consistent income, reduce food wastage and ensure the delivery of fresh, affordable produce straight to businesses and consumers,” the US Embassy in Manila said.
Based on projections, the terminal expects to initially generate the sale of some 5,000 tons of produce, which accounts for 3 percent of NVAT’s total volume.
But by its fifth year of operation, the B2B platform is expected to assist the sale of roughly 20,000 tons, which could amount to P500 million.
Senior Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said that such innovative use of technology for agricultural purposes would give farmers more opportunities to boost their sales.
“In agriculture, we can attribute that swift increase [of technological innovation] to the presence of strong dynamic networks of collaboration between development institutions like USAID, the national government and local extension services. I am confident the new online platform will help to guide our ties with farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs of Nueva Vizcaya for decades to come,” Panganiban said.
USAID Philippines deputy mission director Rebekah Eubanks emphasized the crucial role that farmers play in achieving inclusive and resilient economic growth.
“As your partner in prosperity, the United States remains committed to supporting the Philippines in advancing digitization to help improve the lives of farmers and agricultural traders, and more importantly, enhance the country’s food security,” Eubanks said.
USAID, through its Strengthening Private Enterprises for the Digital Economy, dedicated P1 billion to technical assistance, onboarding support and training for NVAT and its users.
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