A House leader is pursuing the institutionalization of the "Kadiwa" store project, which the Marcos administration is banking on heavily to keep prices of fresh produce and other food products down.
Bataan 1st district Rep. Geraldine Roman filed House Bill (HB) No.5601, which is the proposed Magna carta for agricultural workers and revitalized agriculture value chain of 2022.
Roman said the Kadiwa system enables the public to buy goods at cheaper prices, while at the same time allows farmers to earn from their harvests without passing the burden of the high cost of production to consumers.
In her proposed measure, Roman, chairperson of the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality, said Kadiwa will be institutionalized as the government arm that directly purchases produce from agricultural workers, ensuring a rate of return that would allow them to live comfortably and still have the possession to engage in a revitalized agriculture value chain.
“What we experienced during the pandemic should be a lesson learned in terms of logistics and supply chain planning,” she said.
“The value chain addresses supply chain gaps within the agriculture industry and develops an alternative market for domestically produced agricultural goods completely dedicated to maximizing the economic benefit of both producers and consumers,” noted the veteran solon.
The legislator from Bataan said her bill sets up an infrastructure map by providing resilience in case the supply chain is compromised by natural or man-made calamities.
“We need to transform agriculture to a sustainable and diversified sector to ensure economic recovery, reduction of poverty, and food security,” Roman said, adding that without agriculture, there is no food.
"Agriculture provides our country’s needs and our security. Agriculture constitutes 25 percent of the total labor force which is mostly at the threshold of poverty. Industry stands at 1 percent and services contribute 57 percent to the labor force of the country,” she explained.
Under the revitalized agriculture value chain, the production of agricultural products shall be the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture (DA) while processing, packaging, marketing, and trading shall be under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), specifically through Kadiwa markets and outlets.