Bridging Farmers and Consumer Markets
The Perspective of Vegetable Intermediaries
Considering the realities of the distribution model for agricultural products and the facts of infrastructure development in the rural economies in the Philippines, farmers have difficulty in marketing their produce and earning substantial amount of profit is almost impossible. In effect, consumers often have a limited supply of fresh vegetables. However, farmers complain that middlemen in developing economies exploit them by manipulating prices. This study focus on agricultural marketing intermediaries and trading realities, which are often classified as informal. A total of seven agricultural intermediaries locally known as biyahedor in the municipalities of Maragusan and Maco were interviewed utilizing a multiple case study research design. Results showed that these intermediaries performed their duties at an average of 15 h per day to accommodate farmers in order for them to reach the target quantity of products to be sold. Among those, they also went beyond their role as middlemen as they are considered the “last resort” of farmers; thus, they also served as short-term creditors of money and basic goods. Though their performance in the agricultural supply chain is exceptional, only a few acknowledged that they were living below the poverty line irrespective of their weekly revenue. In addition to that, they also experienced physical and mental stress, which they encountered in their journey as entrepreneurs and risk takers.