The way to a credible farming business is access to a professional market
by Aaron Cano
Growing high quality rice and maximizing yield is one thing. Selling it at a reasonable price is another. It’s what turns smallholder farming into a credible business and smallholder farmers into equal business partners at eye-level. And this is exactly what I want to achieve together with our Philippine rice smallholders.
Smallholder Farming Manager at Bayer Philippines
Just as their large-scale counterparts, smallholder farmers across the world are all dependent on a market to sell their produce. This is an integral part of their business and the basis to make a living. However, most smallholders have difficulty in finding a fair and regulated market. A lot of buyers and traders take advantage of their lack of proper market access and try to push prices down. This leaves them with no choice but to sell their produce at throw away prices. That’s why part of my job as a Smallholder Farming Manager is to connect our Philippine rice smallholders with credible partners like the Bohol Rice Processing Complex (BRPC) who share the same vision as we do.
As Alvin Mante, General Manager at the Bohol Rice Processing Complex points out, “usually traders here in Bohol on the Philippines are engaging middlemen.” Alvin Mante however directly goes to the individual rice smallholders. By avoiding the middlemen, he not only saves 1 Peso per kilo of rice which he gives to the farmers as a premium but can also exchange knowledge and experiences with the farmers directly. “The smallholders tell us through their long experience how they process their harvest, like drying it in the sun before they bring it to the mill.”
At the same time, Alvin Mante also shares his lessons learned during countless milling operations and advises farmers on what to take into account to be assured that their harvest is of high quality when it arrives at the mill. The Bohol Rice Processing Complex also offers the smallholders trucks and labor for free to transport their harvest from the field to the mill where it is weighed, and the farmers can pick up their payment. If the farmers deliver their harvest by themselves, they receive an additional premium to their price per kilo.
To Alvin Mante, “smallholders and the Bohol Rice Processing Complex are indispensable partners.” By treating smallholders as equal business partners and providing a fair market, we are “assured of high-quality raw material coming from the farm from which we can produce high-quality milled rice.” This is a win-win situation for both business partners involved and a huge step on the way to helping smallholders unlock the full potential of their business for a better life.