Photo Caption: Members of the Mankayan’s MANPAT-A Farmers Association with Benguet Governor Melchor D. Diclas, M.D., Mankayan Mayor Dario Banario, Department of Agriculture – Cordillera Administrative Region Regional Technical Director for Operations Engr. Danilo Daguio,
Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal Chairman James P. Estong, NVAT General Manager Gilbert Cumila, EcoZen Solutions President Ravindra Dolare, Hedcor President and COO Rolando Pacquiao, and Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) Vice President for Transformation Dea Franko Csuba, together with Fresh Depot’s young blood project leads from AEV – Aly Virrey, Lester Gimeno, and Bianca Gempesaw.



In line with its Great Transformation to become the Philippines’ first Techglomerate, the Aboitiz
Group launched Fresh Depot, which seeks to become the first-ever physical and digital solutions platform for farmers in the country. Its first phase involves piloting a modular and sustainable cold storage unit in Mankayan, Benguet, with the vision of helping farmers reduce their post-harvest losses and maximize crop yield.

“Fresh Depot aims to transform the lives of our farmers by offering a platform that optimizes their yield and income while reducing waste, making a significant contribution to our country’s food security,” said Aboitiz Group President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sabin Aboitiz. “Uplifting the agricultural sector and our farmers is crucial to strengthening our food supply chain and reducing our reliance on imports. We see various opportunities to make an impact in this sector and this is just one of the many projects we’re working on,” he added.

According to a study by the Institute of Food Science and Technology of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, about 42% of locally grown produce goes bad before it can be eaten, and farmers, consumers, and other supply chain players are suffering for it. In 2020, the Department of
Agriculture (DA) underscored the need to establish more cold storage facilities in the country.

This was echoed by the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI), highlighting that it can reduce post-harvest losses and improve farmers’ income. In the Philippines, however, most cold storage facilities are located near urban areas and are used for storing meat and other frozen products. These conventional, energy-guzzling cold storages are not built for farmers, who need
farm-level and affordable cooling facilities for their crops.

Dave Leprozo/ABN

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