AgriEX launched to help farmers become innovative agripreneurs

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and APPGeese, Inc. have launched AgriEX, a digital agriculture exchange platform that allows fair trade via farm-to-fork system.

Through its Emerging Innovation for Growth Department (EIGD), SEARCA has been working with APPGeese, a startup company based in Pasig, to establish a pilot digital agriculture platform in Laguna and Quezon particularly the vegetable farming communities at the foothold of Mt. Banahaw.

“Since October 2020, SEARCA and APPGeese have been coordinating with local government units as well as meeting with leaders of farmer organizations and potential farmer-cooperators in Nagcarlan and Liliw, Laguna and Dolores, Quezon. The launch of AgriEX is the culmination of these efforts,” said Dr. Rico C. Ancog, SEARCA program lead for Emerging Innovation for Growth and Associate Professor at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

During the virtual launch of AgriEX, SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio affirmed that “our farmers need to have access to the next-generation agricultural technologies and innovations– foremost of which is the development of digital agriculture platforms designed to enhance the market linkage of smallholder vegetable farmers.

APPGeese Chief Executive Officer Raymund D. Austria said “we are very happy to launch AgriEX as it will help the farmers attain financial inclusion with the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to be able to grow and manage their crops more efficiently.”

“By having this platform, we hope to encourage more interest in reinvigorating the agriculture sector by helping share the experiences of farmers as well as to be able to spread knowledge and be able to cross-pollinate with interested people who want to go into the business of agriculture,” Mr. Austria explained.

He noted that convenience and value are the strongest buying motivators for people to buy online.

With AgriEX, Mr. Austria said people get access to a wide selection of fresh produce straight from the farm and delivered at their doorstep.

“People can now pre-order crops at pre-agreed prices, subscribe for regular deliveries, and know the story of the produce how it was grown, tended, and harvested,” he said.

AgriEX held a “Buena Mano Live Selling” last February 28. It was the first time that farmers sold their produce through the platform. March 1 was the first day of delivery.

But according to Dr. Ancog, AgriEX is much more than an online store. He said it is also a platform for the farm management where the pilot farmer-cooperators will also be supported with technical inputs to ensure good harvest and high-quality produce.

Mr. Austria explained that AgriEX has an artificial intelligence/machine learning-powered “agricultural management, planning, and record keeping module suitable for establishments primarily engaged in growing crops, raising animals, and harvesting fish and other animals from a farm, ranch, or their natural habitats.”

Dr. Ancog said the installation of the digital cloudpost trunks will be done this month. He said the cloudposts will provide the farmers in the pilot sites with free internet access to enable them to use the agricultural management feature of AgriEX 24/7 as well as sell their produce.