Online store lets you buy straight from farmers, help them earn amid veggie 'oversupply'

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 22 2019 07:43 PM | Updated as of Jan 22 2019 08:39 PM

MANILA - Consumers from Metro Manila can now avail of fresh fruits and vegetables straight from farmers in Benguet.

Through Session Groceries, a grocery service that used to cater only to households in Baguio City, people from Metro Manila can now order fresh produce at a lower rate compared to groceries.

According to Iloisa Romaraog, she started delivering groceries within Baguio City seven months ago.

However, after seeing reports of farmers having to throw away their vegetables due to oversupply, Romaraog decided to try and expand their service to consumers in Metro Manila.

"Nagde-deliver kaming groceries sa Baguio talaga, sa Baguio lang dapat. Tapos nung nakita ko 'yung report tungkol doon sa itinatapon ng farmers, naawa naman ako kasi 'di ba, basta kawawa sila, kasi ang hirap hirap magtanim, tapos itinatapon lang nila," she told ABS-CBN News.

(We deliver groceries within Baguio City, but after we saw the report about oversupply of vegetables, I sympathized with them since it's difficult to cultivate vegetables then they only throw them away.)

"Tapos naisip ko, gawa nga ako ng post na baka may tutulong sa kanila," Romaraog added.

(So I thought of posting about it, maybe people will help them.)

She also said she got the idea after her call for donations for victims of Typhoon Ompong received positive results.

"After nung Ompong issue, noong nakita namin ang post, naisip namin baka naman may magagawa pa kami," Romaraog said.

(After the Ompong issue, when we saw the post, we decided maybe we can do something to help.)

Courtesy of Session Groceries on Facebook

Romaraog said they are still ironing out the process of delivering goods to Metro Manila, but they have sent out two batches of goods, with the consumers picking up their vegetables from bus terminals.

The customers will also have to pay the shipping fee directly to the bus companies.

According to Romaraog, farmers prefer bulk orders, so they are trying to fill up their 4,000-kilo quota for their next batch.

"Kung hindi nga kasi in bulk ang (orders), nalulugi din kasi 'yung mga farmers. Kunwari ako, gusto kong gawin ito, pero wala rin eh, hindi rin sila masyadong motivated gawin kasi, hindi naman siya in bulk," she said.

(If the orders are not done in bulk, the farmers still suffer losses. They are not that motivated if they don't receive orders in bulk.)

"Kaya pinu-push namin ang Manila na baka kayanin nila mag-4,000 (kilos), baka marami pang may gusto," Romaraog added.

(So we are hoping to reach at least 4,000 kilos of orders from Manila, maybe there are more who want to order.)

Should they succeed in reaching their quota, Romaraog said they can deliver the orders straight to their customer's houses.

"May kausap na po ako, basta in bulk 'yung ide-deliver namin, puwedeng i-door-to-door," she said.

(I have talked to some people. If we order in bulk, they can do door-to-door deliveries.)

Romaraog said since this service is fairly new, both farmers and their company are still suffering from losses.

"Pero ngayon parang nalulugi din, parang nalulugi din kami ngayon kasi pina-package pa pala namin, mayroon pa pala siya order fees. Kasi sobrang bago itong activity na ito," she said, adding the prices they post on their Facebook page come directly from the farmers.

(Right now, we still suffer losses since we have to pack the vegetables, we also have to pay order fees. This activity is still something new for us.)

"So ito, since tulong nga sa farmers ang ginagawa, walang patong," Romaraog also said.

(Since we are doing this to help farmers, we do not ask for additional charges.)

Romaraog said they saw this as an opportunity to bring farmers and their goods closer to their consumers, since they are aware that prices of vegetables in Metro Manila markets and groceries tend to be higher.

"Nakakita rin kami ng opportunity na dapat pala mas malapit naming maitawid si farm at saka doon sa consumer. 'Yun 'yung pag-aaralan ko kung paano siya gagawin na mas diretso," she said.

(We saw an opportunity to bring the farms closer to the consumers. We are still looking for ways on how to make it work better.)

Courtesy of Session Groceries on Facebook

Interested customers can check out Session Groceries on Facebook. They can also place their orders on Session Groceries' website.