Agritech MooMart making farm-to-fork a reality for Filipino farmers, now with over 1,000 sign-ups

Jap Tobias - Philstar.com
MooMart making farm-to-fork a reality for Filipino farmers, now with over 1,000 sign-ups
Eric Choe, founder of MooMart, wants to simplify access to fresh produce by creating a platform that enables farmers to sell their produce directly to businesses.
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Note: This article was made in partnership with MooMart. 

Startup aims to connect thousands of farmers, businesses in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines —  Shaping up to be the next big thing in agricultural technology, startup MooMart has already amassed 1,016 pre-registrations from local farms wanting to bring their fresh produce closer and faster to food and beverage (F&B) businesses across the Philippines. 

Set to be launched in December, MooMart is an online marketplace that allows farmers and buyers to transact directly without the need for middlemen and grocery stores—a solution that could mean better profits for farmers and easier access to fresh produce for consumers.

This revolution in agritech comes just in time. While food market prices have been surging, farmers barely benefit due to the challenges that riddle the agricultural supply chain: skyrocketing input costs, damages from environmental disasters, and costly production and post-harvest expenses.

Weeding out the middlemen

Due to all these costs involved in producing and bringing harvests to the market, farmers are often left with no choice but to cut their potential profit by selling their produce to middlemen. 

Eric Choe, founder of MooMart, says that the farm-to-fork market is riddled with middlemen, resellers and grocery stores taking advantage of thousands of farmers across the Philippines.

“The existing players often trap farmers into lowering their already rock bottom prices by pressuring them—often threatening to go to other sellers if the farmer resists selling. The farmers have no choice but to cut their prices to make a living and to stay relevant,” he explained. 

For the 28-year-old Choe, this problem makes it hard for many F&B businesses to connect directly with farmers and buy large quantities of find fresh and high-quality produce at reasonable prices. 

As a result, MooMart was founded to disrupt the inefficacious system and simplify access to fresh produce by creating a platform that enables farmers to sell their produce directly to businesses, at their desired prices without being at the mercy of middlemen. 

“F&B businesses have extreme difficulty finding the right suppliers here in the Philippines. They often pay for overpriced and low-quality foods from resellers, grocery stores, markets and e-commerce stores,” said Choe. “We plan to procure our products straight from the farm to enable businesses to thrive in their target markets.”

Connecting farmers and buyers

MooMart aims to partner with local farmers, including cooperatives, to be the main supplier not just for restaurants and hotels but even talipapa and sari-sari stores across the entire country. It will serve as a full end-to end online marketplace that simplifies the transaction process for farmers and buyers. 

F&B businesses can use the platform to order from multiple farmers. Farmers handle pricing and inventory, while MooMart provides order processing, management and last-mile delivery through their existing delivery partner network.

Farmers only need to register as a seller on the platform and once their verification is approved, they can upload their products and immediately start selling to the platform’s network of buyers looking for fresh produce.

On the other end, buyers have easier access to high-quality produce and enjoy complete transparency of where their food came from and where it was grown. This simplified supply chain also allows buyers to save from markup costs added by middlemen—giving justifiable prices that support and benefit farmers directly. 

Looking forward

“Our goal is to not only help our farmers but to also pass along extreme savings to buyers who are looking for high-quality produce,” quipped Choe. “We’re competing against every reseller and grocery store and that’s exactly who we plan to disrupt.”

Set to launch in December 2022, MooMart will first operate in the Metro Manila area and with an abundance of restaurants and businesses in the city, Choe said this presents a large enough opportunity to start building its presence as a leader in agri technology here in the Philippines.

It is also set to expand across all major cities like Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Tarlac, Zambales, Nueva Ecija, La Union, Zamboanga, Iloilo City, Bacolod, Cebu, Davao, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro and Palawan by the end of 2023.

The platform is set to roll out with easy-to-manage features, as well as options such as setting order schedules based on harvest date, subscription options for buyers and securing online payments.

Tech and the need to empower farmers

For the longest time, farmers form a sizable portion of the Philippine population, and for years they have consistently fed the nation amid crises and struggles. 

This alone is reason enough for MooMart to believe that transforming Philippine agriculture into a dynamic, high-growth sector is a challenge worth a shot at. 

According to Choe, the farm-to-fork market is crucial for Philippine agriculture and economy, and the lack of disruption and innovation in the value chain for farmers speaks volumes about the poor state of current affairs in the farming ecosystem. 

By innovating tech solutions that would support the often sidelined farmers, MooMart takes on the mission of addressing the lack of digital transformation in Philippine agriculture. 

By enabling farmers to earn better, preventing food waste and ultimately helping save the environment, MooMart is revolutionizing agriculture and paving the way for other agritech startups. 

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