By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to open 66 Kadiwa stores nationwide to give local government units (LGUs) and in¬dividual consumers direct access to agriculture products from the province during the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.
Agribusiness Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista said the agency is now finalizing the details of its arrangement with LGUs in the National Capital Region (NCR), especially those who earlier committed to the project such as Quezon City, Pasig, Manila, Pasay, and Taguig.
The DA is also closely coordinating with its regional field offices through their Agribusi¬ness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) for possible food suppliers.
The agency has also identified possible “bagsakan” or drop-off points where suppliers can directly deliver the required commodities of the LGUs.
“We want to provide the public as many options possible to access affordable and nutritious food. The DA offices shall be ready to accommodate buyers but they should, of course, follow the quarantine guidelines and physical distancing procedures,” said Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar.
Kadiwa, which stands for “Katuwang sa Diwa at Gawa para sa Masanang Ani at Mataas na Kita”, is a marketing strategy of the DA which directly connects the food producers to the consumers, thereby lessening the cost of the products.
It links the LGU in urban centers to farmer-producers in the different parts of the country to ease the delivery and distribution of food supply.
Just recently, the residents of Cainta, Rizal enjoyed the benefits of the Kadiwa food market with at least four major farmers’ groups bringing fresh fruits, vegetables and other agriculture products to them.
Dar said that these farmers’ groups participating in the Kadiwa program were able to get past the initial set of logistical problems in order to deliver their produce to the people of Cainta.
To recall, a lot of truckers and traders are facing difficulties in getting through the quarantine checkpoints that have been set up across Luzon and the entire country.
The setting up of checkpoints is part of the regional lockdown imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte in order to control the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“This only proves our farmers’ commitment in ensuring that there will be stable, affordable and nutritious food supply for the people in this time of crisis,” Dar said.
He was referring to farmers’ groups like the Baguio’s Hola Green, Batangas Organic and Natural Farming Association, CamSur-based Agripreneur Farmers and Producers Association, and Mama Agnes of Bataan.
Dar said that overall, the recently held Kadiwa event in Cainta "is a win-win for both consumers and producers".