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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will launch in Cebu City mid-January 2021 the Market-Guided Agriculture Program which will assure Mindanao farmers of a ready market for their produce at a pre-production agreed price.

From Jan. 14 to 16, MinDA will assist Mindanao farmers in bringing their produce to Cebu to be offered in the 18 branches of one of the fastest-growing supermarket chains in the island province, UltraMart.

All of the products will be pre-identified by UltraMart based on their demand in the Cebu Market and will be included in the MinDA Tienda sa Sugbu.

The MGAP is one of the outputs of the season-long Mindanao Vegetable Derby held in Bukidnon Province from July to December.

UltraMart, which will soon open branches in Mindanao, sent two of its executives to the final day of the Derby on Dec. 12 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with a vegetable farmers' group from the IMTASULA Complex, an aggrupation of vegetable growing towns in Northern Bukidnon.

The MGAP when fully implemented all over Mindanao to cover all agricultural activities will transform the region into a virtual "backyard garden" which will grow crops that a family needs.

The absence of guidance on the needs and the absorptive capacity of the market has always been the bane of farming in the Philippines.

This program will be backed up by a digital platform which will identify key production areas so that based on the demands of the market as indicated by buyers like UltraMart the production of commodities could be planned to prevent oversupply which results in depressed market prices.

The program is also expected to free farmers and agricultural producers from predatory and manipulative pricing by traders and middlemen.

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