By James Loyola | Manila Bulletin
May 04, 2023
Aboitiz Group’s Fresh Depot has launched its second pilot cold storage unit in Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal (NVAT) following the successful introduction of its first pilot unit in Benguet.
In a statement, Aboitiz Equity Ventures said NVAT is one of the country’s biggest trading centers located in the Cagayan Valley region.
Fresh Depot seeks to contribute to the country’s food sustainability by providing a physical and digital platform for farmers, with cold storage as its springboard.
With Fresh Depot’s innovative pilot unit, farmers and traders can now efficiently store their surplus produce and preserve its freshness until it reaches the market.
This groundbreaking solution aims to significantly reduce food wastage and enhance the food supply chain in the Philippines.
Moreover, Fresh Depot seeks to provide value-adding services, such as establishing a comprehensive database that the government can leverage to enhance their agricultural initiatives.
AEV Chief Transformation Officer Emilie Sydney-Smith explained how Fresh Depot can become a game changer for Philippine agriculture.
“Filipino farmers face so many challenges, it can be hard to know where to start. When we saw that cold storage technology could prevent around half of their crops from spoiling between harvest and consumption, this was an obvious answer,” she said.
Sydney-Smith noted that, “Getting paid for most, not half, of their production means that farmers will soon be able to invest in other products that can create a virtuous cycle in their prosperity.
“Digitally tracking the cold storage usage means we can also help the government understand how they can better support farmers,” she added.
NVAT serves as a major vegetable trading hub for farmers, traders, and buyers from different parts of Luzon. It was established and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in December 2001.
The Provincial Government of Nueva Vizcaya was the majority stockholder from 2005 to 2013. By 2015, the private sector had gained the majority shares of the corporation. At present, 85.29 percent of shares are owned by the private sector and the remaining 14.71% of shares are owned by the government.
NVAT General Manager Gilbert Cumila said “We are happy to be collaborating with Aboitiz on Fresh Depot’s pilot program. As part of NVAT and a farmer myself, I see a lot of potential in providing this facility to farmers and traders, enabling them to preserve their fresh produce’s quality before they are brought to the consumption market.”
“This will also open doors to digitize farm data. We are equally committed to make this project a success to help prepare the country’s agricultural sector for the future,” he added.