Ride-Hailing App Grab Partners With Filipino Government To Deliver Fresh & Ethically Sourced Farm Produce
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As a part of the Philippines Department of Agriculture’s (DA) initiative to support local farmers amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the cab hailing platform Grab will be providing on-demand delivery directly to the doors of consumers in Manila. The government-run online marketplace, called eKadiwa, will ensure that both the general public can purchase fresh produce for reasonable prices while local farmers are fairly compensated for their work.
Ride-hailing platform Grab recently announced a partnership with the Philippines DA to support local farmers by offering doorstep delivery for the new eKadiwa online marketplace. eKadiwa will be selling fresh fruit and vegetables grown by local farmers, and GrabExpress – Grab’s on-demand delivery service – will deliver it directly to consumers in Manila who are now avoiding crowded grocery stores in the midst of the pandemic.
The DA says that the scheme will both help consumers source reasonably priced and high-quality produce while staying safe at home, as well as ensure that Philippines’ farmers are not left without incomes for their labour.
“With the challenges posed by this pandemic, it is imperative that we develop new innovations and scale up existing technologies, and we’re happy that many have been forging alliances with us to help first and foremost our countryside heroes,” said William Dar, the agriculture secretary.
Some of the participating farming businesses to benefit from the new initiative include vegetable producers Farmfetch, Livegreen, which is known to supply organic produce to supermarkets in Metro Manila, and Ablayan Trading, a group representing small fruit and vegetable growers in Benguet. Banwa Farms’ indigenous crops such as adlay rice will also be listed on eKadiwa, alongside canned products manufactured by Ram Food Products.
According to Dar, the government has since received over 60 new applications from different businesses in the agricultural sector hoping to participate in the online marketplace, suggesting that there will be more locally produced products listed soon.
In addition, the scheme will provide crucial work for Grab’s drivers, who alongside other gig economy workers have seen their incomes slashed as a result of the coronavirus crisis that has led to travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders.
In late April, food systems experts called for governments all over the world to ramp up protections for vulnerable food and farm workers, who tend to be poorly paid and more vulnerable to the coronavirus, despite being crucial workers who support the food supply chain.
Many producers have also been forced to throw out unsold fresh stock and produce as the crisis decimates transport systems and restaurant clients have been forced to shut their doors, leading to enormous food waste on the one hand, but unprecedented demand at food banks on the other.
The new eKadiwa initiative offers insight into the viability of innovative tech-forward solutions to alleviate some of the impacts of the coronavirus crisis.
Lead image courtesy of Afif C. Kusuma / iStock Editorial / Getty Images.