San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is setting up a new community market in Laguna aimed at assisting local farmers and small businesses affected by pandemic.
The initiative is the second such effort of the big conglomerate to help local producers by providing a safe and ready marketplace for their products.
On such market is the so-called the Circolo weekend community market, located at the company’s idle 4,000-square meter property in Cabuyao, Laguna, right in the middle of a high-traffic and bustling residential and industrial area that also covers the cities of Sta. Rosa and Calamba.
Set to open late this month, it is the second to be established this year in the provinces of Laguna and Quezon following the soon-to-be-inaugurated San Miguel Market at SMC’s housing community in the town of Sariaya.
“The disruption to market and supply chains have left a lot of our farmers and SMEs unable to sell their produce and even provide for their basic needs. Through this we hope to be able to help them keep their businesses going while they provide essential services to the surrounding communities,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said.
Beyond its economic benefits, the market, which will also feature outdoor dining and activity areas, is seen to help grow the local economy and foster camaraderie safely among community members.
Since the start of the pandemic, SMC has been actively pursuing job and livelihood initiatives to help affected farmers and small businesses hit by lockdown measures sell their produce, adapt to the new normal and prepare for the future.
Ang said slots at the Circolo community market —to be managed by its property arm and in partnership with the City of Cabuyao led by Mayor Rommel Gecolea — will be offered rent-free for six months to both farmers and small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
“By offering these spaces rent-free, we can help the farmers and local businesses recover, reduce their expenses, devote more resources to capital, and earn more income. We are confident that the Circolo market will be a big help to them since the area is frequented by bikers, riders, travelers, and also residents in nearby housing communities,”he added.
Ang also said that the Circolo community market will also showcase SMC brands Chick ‘n Juicy, TJ Hotdogs, Spam, San Mig Coffee, Purefoods, Veega, Magnolia Gold Label, Kambal Pandesal, and San Miguel Ethyl Alcohol.
“Aside from providing a ready market, our aim at the Circolo community market is to ensure a selling area that is safe for both vendors and consumers. This is by adhering to stringent health protocols to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 as well as food safety and hygiene standards,”Ang said.
“By keeping our businesses running, our countrymen employed, and with health measures strictly in place for the safety of everyone, we hope to be able to help boost our economy’s recovery,” he added.
Early on, SMC constructed the San Miguel Market, set to be officially opened next month, in Sariaya, Quezon as part of its planned sustainable integrated food complex that will generate jobs for residents of its San Miguel-Christian Gayeta Village. It will provide a venue to sell the residents’ fresh catch and fresh produce, and home-made products directly to consumers.
In the early months of the pandemic, SMC’s partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA) allowed farmers to sell their produce at the “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita” stores at Petron gas stations in Metro Manila.
SMC, in cooperation with social enterprise Rural Rising Philippines, also established Better World Diliman, a community center in Quezon City that serves as a ready-market for excess produce bought from farmers at better-than-farmgate prices, and offered to consumers and resellers at low prices.
Through the DA, SMC also purchased 524 million kilograms of corn from farmers across Central Luzon, Pangasinan, and Camarines Sur.