San Miguel Foods buys corn from farmers nationwide

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star
San Miguel Foods buys corn from farmers nationwide
Given its success, San Miguel Foods plans to expand the coverage of its program by the end of the year.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Foods, the food unit of San Miguel Corp. (SMC), has bought over 1.3 million metric tons (MT) of corn worth P23.9 billion directly from farmers since 2020 through its local corn buying program.

Given its success, San Miguel Foods plans to expand the coverage of its program by the end of the year.

Launched in 2020, the program initially covered 13 provinces that include Batangas, Bicol, Bukidnon, Bulacan, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Ilo-ilo, Isabela, Ormoc, Pangasinan, Tarlac, and Zamboanga.

The local corn buying program aims to source raw materials for its food products directly from local growers to help boost farm incomes, reduce the country’s dependence on imports, and help achieve food self-sufficiency.

“Through this program, we are assured of local corn supply for our food business while our local farmers are guaranteed a steady market and fair prices for their crops. Buying directly from them boosts their income and keeps their livelihood sustainable,” SMC president and CEO Ramon Ang said in a statement.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, San Miguel Foods purchased over 500,000 MT or 500 million kilos of corn to help farmers in various provinces affected by quarantine protocols and supply chain disruptions that saw their produce going to waste.

Isabela province farmer Marjorie Gante said SMC’s local corn buying program has given her and her family a renewed sense of security.

The direct corn buying program is just among several initiatives SMC continues to implement to support farmers and the agricultural sector nationwide.

SMC also locally sources other raw materials used by its businesses, such as cassava, through its cassava assemblers’ program, and poultry, with the help of contract growers.

In 2020, SMC opened Better World Diliman, a ready-market for excess produce bought from farmers at better-than-farmgate prices and sold to consumers and resellers for low prices.

To date, Better World Diliman has rescued over 1.7 million kilograms of vegetables from farmers.

Additionally, in partnership with Gawad Kalinga’s School for Experiential and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED), SMC has provided over P2 million worth of scholarships to underprivileged youth in Sumilao, Bukidnon.

The program enables farmers’ children to complete a TESDA-accredited agri-business course and serves as a model for rural development through education.

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