Publicly-listed AgriNurture Inc. (ANI) of businessman Antonio Tiu is including agrarian reform beneficiaries in its e-commerce platform in order to connect them with merchants in the Philippines and other countries.
To do this, ANI has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) covering agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs).
Tiu said the project will initially cover one million farmers in the Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) corridor “as proof of concept” before rolling out the digital platform nationwide.
Based on the MOU, the project development initiative “aims to provide a facility to DAR’s agrarian reform beneficiaries/organizations through the digital online platform, aniexpress.1ani.com.ph.”
ANI’s online e-commerce platform is at the center of the company’s farm-to-plate model, which strives to help the country’s rice farmers in the far reaches of the countryside with financing and post-harvest agricultural machinery intended for their improved harvest and income.
For the company, the project would create an ecosystem “wherein ARBs can easily connect with merchants and ensure a market for their harvests through the institutional buyer.”
ANI will also serve as an institutional buyer of the produce of agrarian reform beneficiaries, serve as consolidator and facilitate logistics on pick-up of produce, provide a portal for DAR to generate reports and monitor the status of marketing and transactions, and assist agrarian reform beneficiaries with their farm plan and management based on market requirements.
Tiu said the marketing partnership is the initial phase of the firm’s project proposal to DAR. It is expected to culminate in ANI providing a digital financial infrastructure for the financial inclusion of agrarian reform beneficiaries in the later stages of the project.
ANI exports its products to Asia, Middle East, Europe, and North America. Its brands include Big Chill, Tully’s, Cheesecake Etc., and plant based meat substitute Fit Bites via auto vending machines, kiosks, cafeterias and coffee shops, providing a range of food and beverage product lines.
Tiu’s vision is to help farmers and other agriculture stakeholders while maximizing opportunities for business growth, enhancing shareholder value and more importantly, helping meet the needs of underserved Filipino consumers.