In the scenic town of Liliw in Laguna, upland farmers are reaping the benefits of a transformative digital agriculture project initiated by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Studies and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) in collaboration with AppGeese Inc., a socio-technoprise.
Prior to their involvement in the SEARCA project, Liliw’s upland farmers, despite being part of the Liliw Upland Farmers Marketing Cooperative (LUFAMCO), operated independently, limiting their market to the local vicinity. However, since the project’s inception in 2020, the farmers have embraced a digital platform that has reshaped the way they market their diverse harvest, including vegetables like cabbage, string beans, chayote, and radish, tailored to upland areas.
Under the guidance of Ms. Eunice Decena, the municipal agriculture officer, LUFAMCO members recognized the potential of the digital platform in providing robust support and creating market linkages. With the AgriEx application, facilitated by AppGeese, the cooperative underwent transformative activities such as field visits, packaging and sorting training, and digital marketing introductions.
Marvin Felices, appointed as the farmer coordinator, utilized AgriEx to connect with buyers, track orders, and gauge market demand in real-time. The platform facilitated seamless transactions, ensuring prompt produce pick-ups and immediate payment through e-money transfer, surpassing prevailing market prices.
Over the past two years, LUFAMCO’s participation in the digital platform has attracted attention from additional marketing partners, including the Department of Agriculture’s Kadiwa Market and Gawad Kalinga. This expansion has broadened their market reach, with the Department of Science and Technology supporting the cooperative’s venture into producing and selling their own organic fertilizer.
Expressing gratitude for the project’s transformative impact, LUFAMCO President Enrico Arvesu highlighted the importance of planning and consolidation to reach a wider market. He emphasized the vast opportunities that online marketing has unlocked for the group beyond their local area.
SEARCA Center Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio commended the success of the digital agriculture project in Liliw, emphasizing SEARCA’s commitment to enhancing the well-being of local farmers. He noted that the initiative has motivated the municipality to actively seek collaborations, with plans to extend their agricultural produce to broader markets, sustaining the growth of the farming community.