Philippine Daily Inquirer
THIS TEEN ENTREPRENEUR IS TRYING TO DIGITIZE PHILIPPINE FARMING
As the pandemic encouraged teenagers to engage digitally through social media platforms, Kyler Sy, 17, thought of a solution to improve the status of farming in the Philippines.
Sy started a farm-to-table social movement by opening a website community, Green Gulay. The project allows farmers in far-flung provinces to market their goods.
The website is a platform for nontech-savvy farmers to sell their products online. In a country where it is a challenge for farmers to deliver goods, Sy has attempted to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers, while serving fresh produce at every Filipino table.
“The farm-to-table social movement really resonated with me,” says Sy. “I had firsthand experience of enjoying the benefits of this ideology. My farm and my table are just a few meters from each other, and I can clearly see the benefits, not only in knowing the source of my food but also on the environment.
“Imagine the amount of carbon emissions eradicated by this approach. In addition to this, it helps small farms who have minimal access to markets where they are often left without a channel to sell their products. This makes small farms susceptible to unscrupulous traders and agents who do not give them fair compensation for their crops.”
Green Gulay has partnered with several farms from Baguio, Cavite, Taguig, Rizal and Bulacan, among other areas. The project has improved the economic status and business returns of farmers.
What keeps Sy motivated despite the geographical challenges is his passion to consume and serve natural produce. “Seeing my plants grow is very rewarding. Vertical farming allows you to grow multiple plants in a plastic drum. It is a time- and space-saving farming practice. I plant simple produce like peppers and cherry tomatoes to ease my stress from online classes and enjoy the ‘fruits of my labor.’”
The idea came from his personal experience and understanding of the online marketplace for farm produce.
“I was surprised that there wasn’t any way to find sustainable fresh produce online. I decided to develop this marketplace for farmers to post their products and for consumers to find them directly. This is howgreengulay.com started.”
To ensure that consumers are dealing with authorized farmers, Green Gulay ensured a safety registration process of all partner farms. “I encourage everyone to check out the website and support our local farmers. If you are a small-scale sustainable farmer, please register and let consumers know about your products.”
Sy is an International School Manila Grade 12 student and an avid video game player who has successfully organized video game competitions for public school students.