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N. Cotabato lawmaker launches online "agri wet market"

A provincial lawmaker in North Cotabato has conquered the social media to help his farmer-constituents find a market for their crops.

Board Member Socrates Piñol of North Cotabato’s 3rd district, soft-launched on Friday a virtual “wet market” in the worldwide web he dubbed as “Mlang Farmers Market”.

A native of this town and son of a farmer, Piñol designed the page on Facebook as an easy access for farmers to look for buyers of their agricultural produce.

“This is a campaign commitment, a promise that I will help look for buyers for our farmers’ products by conquering the social media,” he said, noting that at least half of more than 100 million Filipinos surf the Internet.

“All our farmers will do is to post their produce and contact information on FB page, ‘Mlang Farmers Market’, so prospective buyers could open communication lines,” said Piñol, who won his first term as board member single-handedly.

“In my visits to communities during the campaign period, I sensed right away they are clamoring for effective access to market,” he said. “Because of that discovery, I re-assessed my political game plan to include marketing of agricultural products.”

Looking back at his unprecedented victory at first try, Piñol, younger brother of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, said he made it to the provincial board because he carried the sentiments of the farmers.

He earlier vowed to establish a “Bagsakan Center” in Caloocan City in Metro Manila to serve as a wholesale center for North Cotabato's crops but set aside the idea upon realizing doing it online is more effective.

Piñol however said that the “Bagsakan Center” idea is still in the pipeline but added “we will be more aggressive in marketing online”.

To prove his brainchild will be effective, he cited several Internet marketing platforms, such as, amazon, Lazada and that have become a multi-billion business by linking product sellers and buyers.

He urged the agriculture sector and the government to venture into Internet marketing of farm products.

“With more and more people using the latest technology like Android phones, online marketing is a potent marketing strategy,” he said.

Among his priorities for legislation is the crafting of local laws establishing the “Barangay Agriculture Data System”, which will put all important agricultural data for easy Internet access of prospective buyers. (PNA) CVL/NYP/EOF