The concept for e-Magsasaka started with the familiar idea of eliminating the middlemen in the value chain. The founders took on the project as a prerequisite to join an external innovation competition under the Master of Science in Innovation and Business (MSIB) program. Being the pioneer batch of MSIB program, the class was encouraged to innovate with a sense of social purpose to solve real world problems. With this in mind, Aaron David, Gorby Dimalanta and Aiah Sarmiento, all from MSIB 2017, focused on the agricultural industry to make sure farmers were amply rewarded for their backbreaking work to provide food security for the entire country.
The idea for e-Magsasaka was further distilled as the founders participated in various competitions such as the East West Seed Innovation Olympics, Unionbank Pitch Fest, AGREA Young Agripreneur Pitch, and Makesense Incubation Program, winning the grand prize in some of these contests. More importantly, these allowed them to get valuable mentorship from experts within the agriculture, logistics and IT industries.
Their learnings validated the group’s vision to make farming more financially rewarding for the farmers while making the produce less expensive for the consumers simply by shortening the supply chain. e-Magsasaka, in its current business model, provides a platform for farmers to directly market their produce even before harvesting, maximizing their revenues and ensuring all their crops are sold. On the other hand, consumers get direct access to fresh fruits and vegetables at significantly lower prices as the layers of unnecessary middlemen are eliminated. This win-win arrangement encouraged the founders to establish e-Magsasaka Agriventures, Inc., to fully realize their lofty objective of disrupting the tradition-bound agricultural industry and improve the lot of all stakeholders in the value chain.
In its first 2 months of operation, the venture has already gained working partnerships with 5 farmers’ associations and cooperatives within Region IV-A, translating to more than 2 tons of fruits and vegetables supplied to various business buyers and end-users. To mitigate the risk of spoilage, the business follows a pre-ordering process for the buyers while committing to a 24-hour turnaround time from harvest to delivery. As a result, buyers are always guaranteed deliveries of fresh produce direct from the farmers.
Now down to Aaron and Gorby, the duo plans to onboard more farmers’ cooperatives and buyers before the end of the year. A beta launch of their online platform is also scheduled within the quarter.
We wish Aaron and Gorby the best of luck with their noteworthy venture!