Now, there is an easier way to buy fresh produce from these farmers through this online grocery store called Session Groceries. Yes, it’s coming straight from Baguio and yes, it delivers fresh fruits, vegetables, and other harvests straight from the farms of Benguet to your doorstep. If you want to help our farmers, you could now do so through Session Groceries. You don’t need to travel all the way to the northern Philippines, you only need to download the Session Groceries mobile app or go to their website to order.
You can now order fresh produce at a lower rate compared to groceries. If you want to avail through their website, here’s a step by step guide on how to order from Session Groceries: How to Order Food and Groceries Online When in Baguio!
Oversupply has become a frequent issue with farmers in the Philippines and we only want to help them earn but accessibility to reach out to them has always been the barrier. Benguet farmers have been forced to throw tons of vegetables away since prices have decreased. Due to oversupply in the market and the delay in harvest because of the weather, the farmers cannot sell their vegetables anymore. In particular, the monsoon which lasted a month long and the strong typhoon that struck the province.
Agot Balanoy, Benguet Farmer’s Marketing Cooperative’s general manager stated: “Yung mga na-harvest kasi ngayon supposedly nung December pa, which is peak season. Eh hindi umabot because of the destruction kaya ngayon lang na sabay-sabay sila nakapag-harvest.”
(The [vegetables] that were supposedly harvested last December when it was still peak season. We were unable to harvest because of the destruction and that’s why we’re harvesting all at the same time.)
The co-founder of Session Groceries, Iloisa Romaraog, shares in an interview with ABS-CBN News:
“Online grocery kami, medyo masakit nga ‘yun kasi yung effort ng farmer, ‘yung ginastos niya doon, parang mawawalan lang. So sabi ko, tingnan nga namin,” she also shares in an interview.
(We are an online grocery. It hurts to see that because the expenses and efforts of the farmer were all for nothing. So I said, let’s see what we can do.)
“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,”
(We deliver groceries to Baguio only. Then, when I saw the report about how the farmers throwing away their harvest, I felt sorry for them, not just because they were poor, but because planting is very, very challenging and difficult yet they just threw it away.)
She also mentioned that the reports of the discarded produce were what prompted her widening her reach. Thus, helping the farmers work their way from this oversupply problem.
So, back in 2018, when the Baguio-based online store just began its service, they initially started catering exclusively to the households in Baguio City. Now, it has already expanded its reach up to Metro Manila, Cavite, and Laguna.
The shop currently provides door-to-door deliveries in Metro Manila and Baguio orders. Although Session Groceries accepts Pampanga orders, it is still not offering door-to-door deliveries there yet.
Through this online store, you can now avail of vegetables coming from farmers as far as Mountain Province, Itogon, and Benguet. Although buyers do not have a minimum spend, Romaraog stated that orders purchased in bulk would significantly help farmers reduce the costs of delivering to Session Groceries.
All photos courtesy of Elaine Quion.
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