SAN Miguel Corp. (SMC) officially opened its Circolo community weekend market on unused company property in Cabuyao, Laguna to help farmers and small businesses — who are using the market rent-free for six months — reach more consumers, boost their income and broaden access to fresh and affordable products.

SMC President Ramon Ang said the first two weekend runs of the market were a big success for farmers and merchants, who have reported selling out their goods quickly on market days, as Covid-19 restrictions have been eased throughout Metro Manila and neighboring provinces, including Laguna.

One of the most-visited stalls is a social enterprise Rural Rising PH, SMC's partner at its Better World Diliman community center in Quezon City.

The center serves as a ready market for excess produce bought from farmers at better-than-farmgate prices, which are then offered to consumers and resellers at lower prices. Vendors sell coffee, fruit and vegetables, plants, bikes, assorted food, and non-food products. "Through Rural Rising Philippines, our Better World Diliman has become a lifeline for many distressed farmers all over Luzon whose goods cannot all be sold or transported to their traditional markets.

Since July 2020, they have sold over 800,000 kilos of produce which in turn, benefited 4,500 farmers. That number can only go higher, now that they have an outlet south of Metro Manila, through Circolo market," said Ang.

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Since the formal opening on October 23, some 26 stalls are now operating rent-free for six months at the 4,000-square meter Circolo market. It was named as such because it is located at the rotunda connecting Sta. Rosa and Cabuyao, Laguna in the popular Nuvali development. Circolo market attracts both local residents of nearby villages, as well as weekend visitors from Metro Manila and other neighboring cities.