'Rescue buy': Facebook group of 22,000 helps distressed farmers sell produce

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 17 2021 11:50 AM | Updated as of Oct 17 2021 12:08 PM

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MANILA - A Facebook group of some 22,000 people buy produce from distressed farmers higher than the farmgate price and sell it to its members lower than market price, its founder said Sunday.

Rural Rising Philippines does "rescue buy" where it procures all of the farmers' produce to prevent it from going to waste, according to founder Ace Estrada.

"We go to the farms, bumibili kami nag tone-toneladang produkto. We pay them cash upfront, mataas pa sa farmgate price. Dinadala namin sa Manila, may grupo kami na 22,000 people, sila na po bumibili," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(We go to the farms and buy tons of produce, we pay them cahs upfront higher than the farmgate price. We send it to Manila where our group of 22,000 people buy it.)

"The good thing po is nakukuha nila at less than price sa Balintawak. So panalo po lahat -- sa farm at saka yung mga consumer."

(The good thing is the consumers get it at less than Balintawak price. So everyone wins--the farm and the consumer.)

The group started its activity as the COVID-19 pandemic prevented farmers from getting produce out of their farms, said Ace Estrada.

"We send trucks na ililipat (ang produce) from one checkpoint to another. Kung minsan, army truck. Minsan, government truck. We beg or borrow trucks to take the produce to Metro Manila," he said.

(We send trucks that transfer produce from one checkpoint to another. Sometimes it's an army truck, sometimes government truck. We beg or borrow trucks to take the produce to Metro Manila.)

"Binibigay namin sa farmer yung parang price sa middleman. So they can get P5 to P10 more than what they expect."

(We give farmers the price commonly given to the middleman so they can get P5 to P10 more than what they expect.)

The public may join the Facebook group Rural Rising PH, and visit their official page Rural Rising Philippines, and their website ruralrisingph.com, said Estrada.

It is currently helping farmers in Pangasinan following the devastation of severe tropical storm Maring, he added.

"Yung ginagawa namin, hindi (What we do isn't) extraordinary. Anyone can do this... Buy from the farmers directly, eat local and trying to make change sa (among) farmers by paying the right price, wag baratin ang farmers (Let's not haggle with farmers)," Estrada said.

"To farmers, send us pictures of your produce. Susubukan po namin makarating d'yan, lalo na 'pag Luzon. Entrepreneurs, please go visit us and we'll help you get quality produce for the right price so you can make business for yourself."

(To farmers, send us pictures of your produce, we will try to visit you especially if you're in Luzon.)