Mindanao organic farmers signs deal to supply rice to US firm
Mindanao organic farmers gained access to a wider and more lucrative market as they finalized an agreement with a US based firm to be the supplier of organic and aldai rice.
With the deal that was forged on September 20, 2019, American consumers will now have access to organic rice and aldai produced in the Philippines. The signing of the marketing deal with unlimited volume of White, Brown, Red and Black Rice and the exotic Adlai grown by the Tribes capped yesterday’s day-long Mindanao Rice Forum organized by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
The Mindanao Rice Forum, sponsored by Seedworks Philippines and AMO Organic Fertilizer, was attended by Adlai and Organic rice farmers associations and cooperatives. During the forum, the participants, guided by the MinDA and the Department of Agriculture Regional Offices in Mindanao and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), organized themselves and formed the Mindanao Organic Rice Council (MORCO).
Chosen as Interim Chairman of MORCO was the Don Bosco Multi-Purpose Cooperative with Agro Eco Philippines and SRII Technology Group as vice chairmen. Represented in the Council are organic rice farmers’ cooperatives and associations from all over Mindanao, organic fertilizer and soil ameriolants producers group, seed growers and rice millers.
The MinDA will be the lead government agency to support the group with the assistance of the DA and PhilRice. MinDA will establish a database of all organic rice and Adlai farmers in Mindanao, including the geotagging of the production areas.
Availability of seeds for the Black Organic Rice, which is the most sought-after product, will also be determined, including the estimated production.
“Produce as much as you could and we will market it,” said Andrew Bolougne, head of the US Marketing Firm which is also working on the importation of Green and Matured Coconuts drom the Philippines.
Bolougne, who led the US group which signed the marketing agreement with Don Bosco Multi-Purpose Cooperative yesterday said the demand for organic rice, especially the Black Rice which is reputed to have medicinal benefits, is huge and largely unfilled.
“You cannot imagine how huge is the market demand for organic food today and we will cash in on that,” he said.
Bolougne’s group committed a buying price which would give farmers double what they are earning by planting commercial rice.
Don Bosco vice chairperson and marketing officer Maria Helenita Gamela said organic rice farmers are not affected by the Rice Tariffication Law which allowed the unimpeded entry of imported rice resulting in low farm gate price for commercial rice.
“We have a niche market. The price is steady whole year round but we cannot produce the needed volume,” she said.
Currently, Don Bosco buys from its members organic paddy rice at P19 to P20 per kilo. This could go even higher with the forging of the marketing agreement with the US group.