MAIS FARMS:  Bringing Farmers Closer to Markets

August 14, 2021

Tat Gualberto

To solve the problems facing the agriculture industry, the local government of Mina, a humble 5th class municipality of Iloilo province harnessed the power of data and technology to create sustainable, real-time, validated agriculture and marketing system.

MAIS FARMS stands for Municipal Agriculture Information System, Farmers Agriculture Resource Management System. It is a web-based system for tracking real-time agricultural production and marketing databases that link farmers and their products directly to premium markets and direct buyers. With real-time information our farmers have a better chance of being competitive players in the supply-chain. 

During the 8 July 2021 beta version of COLLABDev’s public on-line learning series, former Mina Mayor Lydia Grabato showed how MAIS FARMS modernizes farming, agribusiness, rural development and management and helps ensure food availability and sustainability. It does many things for all sectors: farmers, LGU managers, traders, large supermarket chains and the consumers. It systematizes food and crop production and has the potential to do away with surpluses and deficits, promote up-to-date information exchanges between and among all the players and stakeholders involved in the value chain process.

Grabato pointed out though that it is important that the system is adopted by contiguous municipalities within the province so that supply is aggregated and buyers who look at volume production can easily go directly to farmers’ groups. MAIS FARMS is in use in nine municipalities in the 3rd district of Iloilo, all ready to address the technological gap in the agricultural sector. These are Badiangan, Bingawan, Cabatuan, Calinog, Janiuay, Lambunao, Maasin, Mina, Pototan.

Mayor Melchor Melgar of Salcedo, Eastern Samar, one of the panel reactors to the MAIS presentation is raring to have the system in place in his municipality. “This is exactly what I want to do! The system gives us important information on current agriculture realities on the ground. If not with the pandemic, I would have gone to Mina myself to further learn about this innovative platform. Salcedo is a farming and fishing 5th class municipality,” he said.

Developed as early as 2010 and with continuous platform upgrade, MAIS is intended to help farmers increase their income by helping them decide at any given time what crops to grow based on what the market demands. As an agricultural commodity supply information system, it caters from small-scale farmers to organized farming communities. The system stores, manages and processes information for creating marketing linkages between and among farmers and buyers of raw or processed agri-products

For her part, Ms. Nimfa Ferolino, the Municipal Agriculture Officer of the Municipality of Irosin, Sorsogon pointed out that what is nice about MINA is that it links farmers directly with the buyers minimizing the role of middlemen which, if one too many further jacks up the price of agriculture produce.

Information that the database keeps include the farmer’s profile, climate variables such as flooding, drought, typhoons, pest infestation and pest damage and major plant diseases, total area planted to a crop, location of commodity grown within the municipality, potential volume of production and harvesting time.
The web-based system has a built-in interactive exchange platform where farmers can directly interface with buyers, wholesalers, assemblers, and other farmers themselves. Farmers can login, verify and access data at any given time. They can also synchronize their planting to cater to market demand. 

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