SAN MIGUEL Corp. (SMC), via its food division San Miguel Foods, has purchased 87,946 metric tons (MT) of corn from local farmers’ cooperatives in October to early November as part of its efforts to augment the income of farmers affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement on Thursday, SMC announced that its total year to-date corn procurement had reached 524,155 MT, 20% higher than 436,209 MT it had in September.

“This is by far the largest volume ever that we have sourced directly from farmer cooperatives. This is part of our continuing efforts to help boost the incomes of our farmers, who have also been affected by the pandemic,” SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang said.

Moving forward, Mr. Ang said SMC can now purchase more corn from farmers in Isabela, Pangasinan, and Mindanao after the completion of its new feed mills across the country.

“The new facilities, equipped with large silos with aerators, are capable of stockpiling and storing corn and other grains for a year. This will enable the company to buy and store bulk corn longer, giving more income to local farmers, and boosting food security,” Mr. Ang said.

To recall, SMC announced that it would intensify its procurement of raw materials from farmer cooperatives referred by the Department of Agriculture (DA) after the government’s implementation of strict quarantine measures due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, SMC said that for 2020, it has already procured 102,608 MT of local cassava from farmer cooperatives across the country under its Cassava Assembler Program.

The company has partnered with the DA to establish “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita” marketing stores at Petron gas station that brings fresh produce to more consumers across Metro Manila.

It also created another market called Better World Diliman, where excess produce purchased from farmers at above-farmgate prices are sold to resellers and consumers at cheaper prices.

“SMC is also exploring other ways to support farmers whose agricultural lands were devastated by super typhoons Rolly and Ulysses,” the company said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave