“We will survive, recover and even advance.”
Thus declared Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato ‘Boy’ de la Peña during the recent launch of Agrizkaya One-store Hub in Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya. He was referring to the misery and challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 29th one-store hub in the Philippines is into promoting local products and services, particularly organic-based commodities produced by farmers in Nueva Vizcaya and neighboring provinces like Ifugao, Quirino, Isabela and Cagayan.
“This one-store hub provides a new avenue for micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to help market their products given the effects of this pandemic,” de la Peña said, especially that more than a hundred products were supposedly added to the store that was established by Agrizkaya Cooperative Federation in July 31, 1991. This likewise secures the sustainability and marketability of products of other MSMEs.
He further explained that the launch represents a “remarkable expression” showing nationalism. “It is delightful to know that you chose to be the portal of other local products,” referring to the people behind the Agrizkaya Cooperative Federation, that organized the hub.
De la Peña also lauded the Nueva Vizcaya local government units led by Bambang Mayor Pepito Balgos.
DOST Region 2 director, Engr. Sancho Mabborang joined the virtual launch which was livestreamed over Facebook. The innovative and creative strategies of Region 2, according to de la Peña have him launched various projects almost monthly.
Soon, he said a bigger project called Smart Food Value Chain stores will also be launched. It will involve and generate a wide range of economic and related activities because the bigger percentage sold in store hubs are food products. “This covers activities like planting to produce the raw materials; post-harvest processing, storage, logistics in taking the products to markets where they are in demand like food innovation centers where products are being processed or to different companies. Logistics and delivery are also important, de la Peña added.
The Agrizkaya Cooperative Federation has Eden Lacar as its general manager, and Nieto Barrcena as Board chairman. Most of its cooperative members are farmers. Their one-store hub is located along the Maharlika Highway in Barangay, Almaguer North, Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya.
Regional Director Mabborang, for his part, said the one-store hub forms part of DOST’s efforts to assist MSMEs under the DOST Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (DOST-SETUP). It is a major strategy being pursued nationwide to encourage, support and assist MSMEs to adopt technological innovations to improve their products, services, operations and increase their productivity.
Mabborang noted that the pandemic did not really affect adversely the performance of one-store hubs which in fact increased their sales by 15 to 20 percent. (Janet R. Ducayag)