Safe and locally grown fruits and vegetables available for delivery thru LB Veggie Move of LGU-LB

LB Veggie Move, an online fruit-and-vegetable-selling platform, provides livelihood and farm productivity for Los Baños (LB) farmers; food access and safety for residents amid COVID-19 threats.

This is the product of the R&D initiative, “Development of Inclusive and Resilient S&T-based Vegetable Supply Chains for the New Normal,” under the leadership of Ms. Cherryl T. Lavina-Gonzales from the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist of the Local Government Unit of Los Banos, Laguna (LGU-LB) with funding from the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).

 The project envisions an inclusive and pandemic-resilient S&T-based response against pandemic-born pressures across agricultural supply chains.

Using the “Farm-to-Fork” model as framework, LB Veggie Move emphasizes direct farmer-to-market linkage. Fruits and vegetable produce of farmer-cooperators are consolidated, packaged, and directly sold through the system.

Project implementation

A total of 42 cooperators across the municipality were organized and divided into two clusters: 26 Internal Control System (ICS) practitioners and 16 pesticide-free farmers.

All farmers were capacitated on S&T-based food production, management, and marketing practices to ensure consistent and safe food supply. Topics include Insect Pests, Diseases, and Pesticide Management, Organic Agriculture, Soil Nutrition and Soil Analysis, Food Safety and Post-Harvest Practices, COVID-19 Seminar, and Marketing and Supply Chain Management. ICS training, on the other hand, was introduced to non-pesticide users.

Cooperators were also trained on Leadership Skills and Values Formation as well as on Gender Sensitivity to improve their decision-making and to explore gender roles in food production chain, respectively.

Crop planning was, likewise, conducted to address market supply and demand issues.

Access to safe and local produce

Orders can be placed via their online store: https://lbveggiemove.com/ or through their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lbveggiemove/.

Aside from deliveries, available ICS-grown and pesticide-free harvests are sold at the two municipal public markets in Barangays (Brgy.) Batong Malake and Baybayin. Physical stores are also installed at the new municipal hall in Brgy. Timugan every Tuesday.

Promotion and sustainability

To promote LB Veggie Move, the project team conducted several marketing strategies: brochure distribution, tarpaulin posting to strategic locations, local media promotion, and social media information brigade. They also partnered with LB-based institutional buyers, food establishments, and government offices to increase and sustain production demand.

For continuous and long-term adoption, the Association of LB Safe Fruit and Vegetable Growers and Online Sellers Los Baños, Laguna (LB Veggie Move) was mobilized. Further, Municipal Ordinance No. 2022-2281 was issued to institutionalize the promotion of safe vegetable production and sustainable project implementation.

A second phase that will expand the technology to benefit more stakeholders and continue the effort beyond pandemic was recommended during the project terminal review last April 18, 2022, via Zoom.

The virtual review was facilitated by the Socio-Economic Research Division (SERD) of DOST-PCAARRD. Deputy Executive Director for Research and Development Feliciano Calora Jr., SERD Director Ernesto O. Brown, and University of the Philippines Los Banos Assistant Professor Mar B. Cruz served as project evaluators. Staff from other PCAARRD divisions also joined the review.

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