The North Remembers: An online grocery store creates a new market for Northern Luzon farmers

By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao

During the first quarter of 2019, local farmers in Northern Luzon experienced a surplus in their harvests due to the limited market where they can sell their products to. As a last resort, the farmers turn to social media to ask netizens to help them out by buying their excess goods.

Several posts from farmers went viral and netizens even offered to buy their products in bulk. Furthermore, an online platform also offered its services to assist the farmers.

Named after Session Road, which is known as Baguio City’s business center, Session Groceries is an online shopping platform where consumers can buy fresh produce.

“We created a new market for the farmers in the North to give them an opportunity to maximize their profit, depending on the availability of the crop, while giving customers quality fruits and vegetables under the farm to table model,” said Iloisa R. Diga, 38, sales and marketing executive of Session Groceries.

She also said that the farmers whom they source their products from must follow ethical growing standards such as avoiding the use of harmful chemicals.

Currently, the store sources their commodities from 28 partner farmers located in specific areas around Northern Luzon.

According to Diga, Session Groceries gets garlic from Narvacan, poblai and tuba from Benguet, rice and lowland vegetables from La Union, and other products from provinces near the store’s location.

To place an order, the store has an app available for free download on Google PlayStore for Android users.

“Our app will be available to iOS users by July 30. In the meantime, we accept orders through our website,” Diga said.

Customers can place their orders from Sunday to Wednesday. After the 6 PM cut-off, the store then informs the farmers on the quantity of orders received for the week, which [farmers] need to harvest fresh from the field the following day (Thursday) in order to meet product delivery from Friday to Sunday.

Session Groceries delivers fresh products from Northern Luzon to a large part of NCR, as well as in some parts of Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna.

“A major concern in choosing the locations where we deliver the goods is proximity. Change in temperature or uneven road condition can cause a significant change in the quality of the produce,” Diga said.

To solve this, Session Groceries is eyeing an expansion soon to help more local farmers from other locations and also to create a wider market.

Diga said that apart from encouraging people to advocate farm to table setup, this initiative could give more farmers access to new market where they can directly interact with consumers.

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Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Patricia Taculao, or Patty as she likes to be called, is a content producer for Manila Bulletin Digital Lifestyle. She graduated from University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She loves to spend her free time, reading, painting, and watching old movies.

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