Farm­ers ex­pe­ri­ence ‘a whole new world’ with the help of a Dis­ney-in­spired startup com­pany

Agriculture - - Contents -

IN THE DIS­NEY FILM ALADDIN, the king­dom of Agrabah has a mar­ket­place that sells an as­sort­ment of goods and trin­kets that cater to ev­ery­one’s needs, whether it’s fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles, or a lit­tle bit of magic to spice things up. Joselito “Jun” Ocol, the CEO and co-founder of an agritech startup com­pany in the Philip­pines, has a goal of bring­ing the con­cept of ac­ces­si­bil­ity and availabili­ty from the fic­tional mar­ket into real­ity to ben­e­fit Filipinos, es­pe­cially the farm­ers.

Named af­ter the king­dom where Aladdin flies around in his magic car­pet, Agrabah is a tech startup com­pany that serves as an on­line plat­form where farm­ers and con­sumers can find each other and make trans­ac­tions at a fair price.

“We’re em­pow­er­ing Filipino farm­ers to steadily earn a fair profit through our on­line plat­forms that con­nects them to

in­sti­tu­tional con­sumers and part­ners,” Ocol said.

Agrabah acts as a me­di­a­tor by sourc­ing or­ders from big com­pa­nies then reach­ing out and em­ploy­ing farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties who could meet the re­quest for fresh prod­ucts.

Ocol and his wife, Josephine Gu­mino, started by bridg­ing fish­ing com­mu­ni­ties with in­sti­tu­tional con­sumers, then later added crop farm­ers to their list.

WHARF, MAR­KET­PLACE, AND FAIR Ocol said that there are three dif­fer­ent plat­forms that Agrabah of­fers where farm­ers can gain a fair profit as well as di­rect access to the mar­ket: the wharf, mar­ket­place, and fair.

First is the “Wharf” which is a busi­ness to busi­ness (B2B) model that con­nects farm­ers to in­sti­tu­tional con­sumers by pro­vid­ing the for­mer with an or­der be­fore they even start plant­ing.

“The good thing about the Wharf is that we can as­sure the farm­ers that we can buy ev­ery­thing that they will be plant­ing,” Ocol said.

In the mean­time, Agrabah is de­vel­op­ing “Mar­ket­place,” a busi­ness to con­sumer (B2C) model

(Above) Cot­tonii sea­weed be­ing dried un­der the sun. (Right) Josephine Gu­mino and Joselito Ocol pose with a res­i­dent (cen­ter) from the Caramoan is­land. (Op­po­site page) A boat of freshly har­vested cot­tonii.

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