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The advantages of the wholesale food market Fishermen and farmers from S. Luzon

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) wants to develop its recently established marketplace for fishermen and farmers in Sariaya, Quezon, into a major wholesale market for fresh products from Southern Luzon, ultimately supplying food to neighboring provinces and Metro Manila.

The new marketplace dubbed the “San Miguel Market,” was soft-opened recently with 56 merchants, many of whom are from the 350 families that SMC has assisted in relocating from high-risk coastal regions.

SMC’s sustainable community project in Sariaya comprises the 5.4-hectare San Miguel-Christian Gayeta hamlet, which contains disaster-resistant homes, and a 3.5-hectare fishermen’s pier with fishermen’s hall, which can secure up to 100 boats and store 70 boat engines and other fishing equipment.

“This market is still in its infancy. While it is currently operating and benefiting residents of our model community and neighboring barangays, SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a statement Thursday that “our goal is to make this even larger, to accommodate more farmers and fisherfolk who wish to sell their products here.”

From its current 3,000-square-meter overall size, Ang said they want to extend it to 10,000 square meters, or one hectare.

“With that scale, it has the potential to grow into a major wholesale market or ‘bagsakan’ of fresh products from all around Sariaya and Quezon province. It may provide fresh food to adjacent provinces and even Metro Manila, with many farmers and fisherman from all across South Luzon benefiting,” he said.

Fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, and meats are presently available at the market. A health and wellness stall, a mobile phone repair business, a pharmacy, a bakery, a shoe store, and a San Miguel Foods store are also located there.

Sariaya Mayor Marcelo Gayeta and SMC Special Projects Manager Micaela Rosales soft-opened the marketplace over the weekend. Residents and renters from San Miguel-Christian Gayeta Homes jointly manage and administer it.

“We will be able to overcome this epidemic by creating more jobs and livelihoods. The San Miguel Market, as a wholesale marketplace, will be able to bring together more bulk vendors and customers in the future, as well as assemble excellent products from all across Sariaya and Quezon provinces,” Ang added.

He claims that extending the facility would allow more Filipinos to establish their own companies and improve their lives.

In terms of employment and livelihood creation, the market is viewed as complementing SMC’s integrated food and beverage complex development in the region.

SMC is investing in Sariaya to construct a ready-to-eat food production facility, a grains terminal, a feed mill, a poultry dressing factory, a brewery, and international port facilities, which are anticipated to create thousands of jobs and improve the province’s economy.

“We will begin expanding the market as soon as possible while continuing to help the existing tenants and inhabitants of the village in ensuring that the current market meets the most rigorous food safety, cleanliness, health, and safety standards,” Ang said.

SMC’s planned agri-related investments in Sariaya are part of the company’s national initiatives to promote agriculture and local businesses while also increasing food security.

In addition to the San Miguel Market, SMC plans to turn an abandoned 4,000-square-meter site in Cabuyao, Laguna, into a weekend community market named the Circolo market.

SMC collaborated with the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the early months of the epidemic to open “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita” farmers’ markets at Petron gas stations throughout Metro Manila.

Farmers who were unable to transport their goods to Metro Manila marketplaces owing to stringent quarantine procedures benefitted from these farmers’ markets.

The “Kadiwa” shops gave them a ready market for their wares while also making fresh food more accessible to customers.

With the assistance of the DA. Farmers in Central Luzon, Pangasinan, and Camarines Sur also sold SMC 524 million kilos of maize.

Better World Diliman, a ready-market for surplus food purchased from farmers at better-than-farmgate pricing and supplied to consumers and resellers for cheap prices, was also established in collaboration with social business Rural Rising Philippines.

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