This is an Entry to the Government Best Practice Recognition Awards
Farm to Table Program
LGU-San Luis, Batangas
Best practice Focus Area(s)
Citizen-centered services, innovation leadership, service quality
The Municipality of San Luis is predominantly an agricultural municipality where seventy-three percent (73%) of its total land area is devoted to agriculture; hence, this sector has been one of the ultimate sources of income of the municipality. To date, fifty percent (50%) of the total agricultural land area is planted with sugarcane, coconut, fruit trees, and vegetables. The other fifty percent (50%) is for livestock and poultry farms. A total of 88.05 ha is planted for vegetables. These include ampalaya, pole sitao, eggplant, tomato, and squash.
Background and Problem
For several years, Filipino farmers are evidently reckoned to be part of the marginalized sector in the country. Being the producers of food, they are manipulated by the middlemen who carry out the harvest at a very low price and tremendously sell them to the consumers beyond the farm gate price. Now, farmers’ products are gathered by LGU in the barangay, and farmers are paid immediately at a fair price thus ensuring their income, eliminating their transport cost, and the manipulation of the middlemen. Their products are transported and sold to the San Luis Trading Post, San Luis Public Market and to the other municipalities. Now that this initiative has been made possible, it opens opportunities to hopefully transact with high-end markets such as Rustan’s and Jollibee Foods Corp.
The LGU has a Farm-to-Table Program that began in 2017 that helps farmers in their income by removing the middlemen. To make this possible, the San Luis Farmers’ Association is born. The farmers are expected to supply more than 1 ton of assorted vegetables daily. The price is still based on the prevailing market but the association considers primarily the price which is favorable for them and for the farmers as well. Meanwhile, the Jollibee Group Foundation has the Farmers Entrepreneurship Program (FEP) which aims to help smallholder farmers improve their income by linking them to institutional markets such as Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC). The objective of the FEP Agro-enterprise Training (AgenT) for Change is to develop Facilitators from the LGU, academe, farmers group, and micro-financing institutions that would assist the farmers from the production to the market aspect. Both programs coincide to help farmers. The LGU acquires and provides delivery vehicles for the transport of the commodities to different markets.
Solution and Impact
The products coming from the farms follow the guidelines and standards of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) such that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored as safely as possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards. Hence, farmers also provide safe and nutritious food for all since health is definitely wealth. Compliance with GAP is guided by the Department of Agriculture.
At the moment, some rejected vegetables coming from the farms are gathered and utilized as food for native pigs and substrates for composting. It is envisioned that everyone would be encouraged to plant vegetables since the market is already available. The broadening of other market networks is ongoing.
Through Gulayan sa Barangay and Paaralan, the concept of the program is replicated even for family or school consumption but with the use of recyclable materials such as containers and other biodegradable materials for composting.
The step-by-step procedure started since 2015 from the registration of legitimate farmers, Participatory Rural Appraisal (assessment of problems and solutions in the farm), the establishment of irrigation systems, provision of agricultural inputs, machinery and equipment, training and seminars, free crop, livestock and poultry insurance through the Philippine Crop Insurance and linkages with other government and nongovernment agencies.
The Farm to Table Program provides food security which is defined by The World Food Summit of 1996 as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. As mentioned, the products coming from the farms follow the guidelines and standards of GAP such that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored as safely as possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards because the program does not only cater to farmers but also to the health of the consumers. Through GAP, farmers would not be suppressed in applying synthetic agrochemicals but it is ensured that the residues from the products would be at a certain threshold level and will not adversely affect the health of the community.
With GAP, farmers and their families obtain healthy and good quality food to assure their nutrition and nourishment, generating a value-added in their products to access markets in a better way. San Luis has a low malnutrition rate in the province of Batangas.