CALATA Corporation, a public listed agriculture company, launched Krops, a mobile application now available through Google Play, which helps farmers find buyers and buyers find producers.
Krops will be made available through Apple Store later.
"We have some 100 farmers who downloaded the app since we made it available late September," Joseph H. Calata, chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Calata Corp., said Friday at the sidelines of the Mentor Me Program launching of Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship Inc.-Go Negosyo and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City.
Most of the first 100 farmers who downloaded the app are from Bulacan and Luzon area.
Calata said they invested around P10 million for the development of the app. The app was developed for about a year.
Krops, involved in the establishment of a chain of agricultural supply stores across the country will assist the farmer or the buyer of the farmers' products access to information on who is buying, who is selling, how much, and the location of the buyer or the seller.
"We developed this, to connect all the players in the value chain, like market place. With Krops, we gave farmers and buyers more options," Calata said, adding that the usual farmers' problem of not knowing where are their potential buyers led them to settle on one buyer who usually buys their produce in a lower price causing farmers to earn less.
He explained that the app enables users to choose and identify themselves either a buyer or a seller. Upon opening the "Krops" app, it will immediately ask the user: "Buying?" or "Selling?" When one pressed "Selling," the location of the buyers near the location of the "farmer" will be immediately shown on the screen including the complete address, the volume required and the buying price.
Also, the user can sort prices from the least to the most expensive prevailing price on agri products.
Asked on how it works, Calata said, the company will manage the whole transactions without charges.
Last August, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol endorsed the app along with another app dubbed as "FarmHelp" believing that these two major innovations "could revolutionize Philippine agriculture."
"For the Krops, this is the perfect answer to the problem bedeviling the Filipino agricultural producer who has always been at the mercy of the middlemen and the traders," Piñol earlier said.
Piñol, in a separate interview on Friday at the sidelines of the Banana Congress 2016 at SMX Convention Center, said they are looking at the mobile app and it is already included in the pipeline. Initial reports said, around 10,000 smart phones will be given away to farmers to avail and use the apps.
Calata said that at present, they are slowly introducing the apps to the farmers.
"Also we have sought for the regional offices of DA to introduce the app, also every events where we are present like congress, expos and forums, I am sharing the app's potentials, hopefully after I shared this here in Davao, many Mindanao farmers will be interested to download it," he said.
He also cited that strong and reliable internet connection will play a vital role in achieving the app's purpose.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 10, 2016.
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