San Miguel Corporation is looking to tap more farmers nationwide to supply raw material for its food products, help sustain farm incomes in the countryside and secure food supply amidst the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“We are looking for ways to be able to tap more farmers for rice production, corn, cassava, coconut oil, pork, chicken, among others,” said SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang. “Through this, we hope to be able to support the livelihood of our farmers and secure our future supply of food,” he added.
This, he said, will also generate economic activity across the food value chain involving not only farmers, but a web of players from suppliers of agricultural inputs, processing facilities, shipping to retailers, among others.
In recent weeks, the company has intensified buying of cassava from over 17,000 farmers nationwide through 130 assemblers.
SMC, whose food unit San Miguel Foods Inc. is among the country’s leading producers of fresh meats, poultry, processed meats, flour, dairy products, spreads, and coffee, said it will buy products at guaranteed prices, to ensure farmers will benefit.
“We want to make sure that farmers will directly benefit. It’s not only people in Metro Manila who are in need of help but also, our kababayans in the provinces, including our farmers,” Ang said.
“Our local farmers have long been a major part of San Miguel’s supply chain. We source many of the raw materials for a lot of our products from them. They are even more important and critical now, especially given the tight competition for products in the global market,” Ang added.
With the initiative, Ang said the company wanted to encourage more farmers to plant, and assure them that they have a ready market for their products.
“Right now, we have more than enough inventory for our present needs, up to over six months. But we will still buy their produce, so we can further ensure supply. This will also allow us to start preparing for the succeeding months,” Ang said.
He added, however, that all players would need to strictly enforce safety practices to protect the supply chain workforce, as the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the start of the enhanced community quarantine for Luzon last month, San Miguel has been ramping up food production to ensure sufficient supply in store shelves. It has also been donating food products for vulnerable and hardest-hit communities.
Of the nearly P1B the company has donated for various COVID-19 efforts, it has distributed P227 million worth of its own food products to vulnerable communities in Metro Manila and several provinces in Visayas and Mindanao.
“At this point, lives are more important than profits. Once all of this is done, we can always go back to business and start anew. Once a life is lost, you can never bring it back. It’s gone forever. We choose life over anything else,” Ang said about the company’s numerous efforts to help government and Filipinos.