By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) formally launched on Tuesday a joint project to bring a variety of affordable basic commodities closer to urban families affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
The “Kadiwa Diskwento Karavan,” which initially served hundreds of families from Barangay Nangka in Marikina City, offers a variety of affordable basic commodities, such as vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken, to sardines, canned meat products, and laundry detergent, among others.
It aims to serve as a “mini grocery” that sells agri-fishery and canned and processed products, and other basic necessities at cheaper rates than the suggested retail prices, as it eliminates middlemen by directly linking farmers and food manufacturers to consumers.
The partnership between the DA and DTI was forged last week during a meeting of the sub-group on food and water security of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
It was recently elevated into the Task Group on Food Security, also chaired by the DA, serving as the fifth task group under the IATF.
Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro welcomed the DA-DTI partnership, considering it a “critical intervention” after the Marikina City Public Market was temporarily closed for disinfection.
Teodoro and DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo led the opening of the discount store on Tuesday, which seeks to give Marikeños much-needed access to basic goods amid the ECQ.
“Kung titingnan natin, may 20 percent off or mas mababa ng dalawampung porsyento kaya maraming natutuwa sa tinitinda rito (If you look at it, the products are sold for as much as 20 percent less so many are glad to buy here),” Teodoro said.
Teodoro added that social distancing was strictly followed by providing residents with chairs while waiting for their turn to enter the covered court.
The DA, DTI, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also reached an agreement whereby the DA will deploy the Kadiwa Diskwento Karavan rolling stores in areas where the DSWD will distribute the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) cash grants to beneficiaries. This will enable them to readily buy food instead of diverting the cash grant for non-essential goods.
The DA-DTI Kadiwa Diskwento Karavan will be deployed in other areas in Metro Manila in succeeding days, in partnership with the DSWD and concerned local government units. (With a report by Jhon Aldrin Casinas )