President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has directed the Department of Agriculture (DA) to directly connect food producers to consumers and institutional buyers, and remove the middle men in the system.
In compliance with the President’s directive, the DA enhanced its initiative to help farmers cooperatives and associations (FCAs) across the country.
Under the initiative, spearheaded by the department’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS), about P2.589 million worth of onions have been sold by the FCAs to institutional buyers from September 2022 to Jan. 24, 2023, composed of 3,478 kilos of red onions worth P755,455 and 5,106.38 kilos of white onions worth P1.833 million.
The DA-awarded Kadiwa trucks and vans also helped the FCAs with their hauling and delivery to markets and big buyers.
“Logistics have a big help really. Kadiwa also helped with the logistics,” Elvin Jerome Laceda of RiceUp and Sakahon farmers’ enterprises said. The DA had awarded a four-wheel truck worth P1.3 million to RiceUp Farmers, Inc. in Pampanga in 2022.
RiceUp also received P1 million in financial grant through the DA’s “Enhanced Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita” program, which enabled it to facilitate the trading of farm produce directly from the farmers to the market.
Farmers are also provided with assistance and training in farm clustering and consolidation, where market-driven production and focuson supplying institutional buyers are applied to help farmers earn better with higher volume.
Through ‘Sakahon’, which is an agritech solutions company, Laceda and his team aim to create a system in which farmers already know what the market needs even before they plant and harvest.
In addition to serving big buyers, RiceUp and Sakahon farmer partners regularly bring their produce to the DA Kadiwa outlet in Quezon City.
Laceda and Bayambang farmers brought 1.5 tons of onions priced at P240/kilogram for big sizes, and P140/kilogram for small sizes at the DA Kadiwa and the Senate in the last week of January 2023.
Last year, President Marcos announced he is determined to transform the Kadiwa project into a national program, in collaboration with the local government units (LGUs), to provide the public access to more affordable and high-quality merchandise and, at the same time, provide a market to local farmers, fishermen and small business enterprises.