Peace 911 links small farmers to wider markets

DAVAO CITY, Sept. 23 (PIA) – After laying down the foundation of peace building which includes bringing basic services to the communities, Davao City’s Peace 911 now starts its Peace Economy, a component of peace building that ensures sustainability of peace efforts by improving the economy of the people.

Peace Economy spokesperson Benjie Lizada described peace economy as uplifting communities in difficult situations by creating a vibrant peace economy through collaboration between and among government, private sector, and target communities, anchored on responsible development.

“ We identify agricultural communities, engage them, and link them to various sectors and we promote the idea that anyone who buys or patronize these products, contribute to solving problems in conflict areas. This means that they invest on peace,” Lizada explained.

Piloting the peace economy program is the recent collaboration between NCCC Supermarket, the Helen’s Farm, the Peace 911, and the small farmers in Paquibato District.

NCCC Supermarket Senior Vice President Tjader P. Regis described the three-week old collaboration as something that is adjusting to reach its goal of getting farm produce straight from the farmers at a fairly, reasonable price.

Peace economy tries to reduce unnecessary layers that bring in middlemen into the spectrum. Every layer added makes trade expensive for the farmers as it diminishes value and transfers the advantage to these middlemen.

“ We may not totally remove all the layers but we are trying to solve issues on logistics by dealing with a social entrepreneur that consolidates produce from the different small farmers and provides us the needed supply,” Regis said.

Regis was referring to Helen’s Farm, a social entrepreneur, tapped to gather and consolidate the supply from the farmers before it delivers the produce to the NCCC Supermarket.

“ We understand the concerns of the farmers and by ensuring the logistics, supply now as needed by NCCC could be met and even be sustainable,” said Toots Campomanes of Helen’s Farm.

As described by the NCCC Supermarket official, the small farmers got surprised upon learning the buying price of their produce. For the longest time, Regis shared that the farmers got contented receiving small value of their products as sold to various middlemen.

“ Farmers are quite surprised learning how much the NCCC values their product. When they earn better, farmers can re-invest into farm technology to better their production and source of living,” Regis said.

Barangay Captain of Malabog, Paquibato District Jessielito C. Areza described the Peace 911 as Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s priority program on peace and security and the biggest factor to a peaceful Paquibato District in the recent years.

The community was first engaged through consultation and dialogue until the government brought in various government services to cater to the needs of the residents.

“ Almost 2 years na walang encounter na nangyari dito sa Paquibato. Kung dati, natatakot kami sa sundalo ngayon ay magkasundo na ang mga sundalo at sibilyan.Naiintindihan na ng sibilyan kung ano talaga ang ginagawa at tulong ng gobyerno sa komunida ( There was no encounter that occured in Paquibato in the recent years. The civilian already understood how the government operates and helps the communities.) ,” Areza said

Areza also shared that with social issues immediately addressed by the government and with residents getting engaged and busy with their livelihood, it was then impossible that residents are swayed by communist groups to go against the government. (PIA XI/Frances Mae Macapagat)