On August 31, the United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal (NVAT), launched a first-of-its-kind e-commerce platform to expand the market reach of Luzon-based farmer-traders and strengthen the Philippines' agricultural supply chain.
The NVAT Fresh Online Platform (NVATFresh.com), directly managed and operated by the Luzon-based agricultural hub, is a business-to-business (B2B) online platform where farmers can list their produce for large enterprises such as supermarkets, food processing companies, and restaurant chains. Through the platform, farmers can leverage competitive pricing, secure a consistent income, reduce food wastage, and ensure the delivery of fresh, affordable produce straight to businesses and consumers.
Through its five-year, Php1 billion ($18 million) Strengthening Private Enterprises for the Digital Economy (SPEED) project, USAID provided technical assistance, onboarding support, and training for NVAT and its stakeholders who use the platform.
In its initial phase, NVAT Fresh Online is projected to facilitate the sales of 5,000 tons of produce, accounting for 3 percent of NVAT's total volume. Future estimates anticipate sales surging to roughly 20,000 tons, generating Php500 million ($8.8 million) by its fifth operational year.
In her remarks, USAID Philippines Deputy Mission Director Rebekah Eubanks emphasized the crucial role that farmers play in achieving inclusive and resilient economic growth. “As your partner in prosperity, the United States remains committed to supporting the Philippines in advancing digitalization to help improve the lives of farmers and agricultural traders, and more importantly, enhance the country’s food security,” Deputy Mission Director Eubanks said.
“Thank you, USAID, for heeding our call. To say that NVAT is a trailblazer is an understatement. The birth of NVAT Fresh is a significant accomplishment," DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual said in remarks delivered by DTI Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Ana Carolina Sanchez.
Meanwhile, Department of Agriculture (DA) Senior Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban highlighted the societal impact of platforms like NVAT Fresh Online on farmers.
"The most striking feature of progress in agriculture today is the rapid increase in the utilization of information technology to provide both farmers and consumers alike with reliable, data-driven information and guidance. In agriculture, we can attribute that swift increase to the presence of strong dynamic networks of collaboration between development institutions like USAID, the national government, and local extension services. I am confident the new online platform will help to guide our ties with farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs of Nueva Vizcaya for decades to come,” Senior Undersecretary Panganiban said.
NVAT ranks among the country's most extensive wholesale markets for fresh produce, delivering 60 percent of its fresh fruits and vegetables to Metro Manila and Central Luzon. As a pivotal hub, it distributes products sourced from various provinces including Benguet, Ifugao, and Pangasinan.
Through SPEED, USAID aims to expand digital transformation across other agricultural and farming communities in the Philippines.