By Adora D. Rodriguez, DA-AFID

To ensure the steady flow of food products to the markets, in line with the national directive for unhampered deliveries of agricultural commodities, Agriculture Secretary William Dar directed all DA regional heads to take action on concerns received by his office regarding problems on the transport of agricultural products from production areas to markets.

“In this time of crisis, we will continue to assist and support our farmers,” secretary Dar said.

As such, the agri chief called on all the DA regional directors to level up actions and come up with strategies that will guarantee the smooth transport of produce from farms to markets.

“Hindi po natin hahayaang mapunta sa wala ang mga pinaghirapan ng ating mga magsasaka, dahil nananatili silang katuwang ng pamahalaan sa pagharap natin sa COVID-19,” he added.

Since last week, the DA-RFOs have started coordinating with farmers and food producers who need assistance in the transport and selling of various agri produce.

“For instance, last March 26 the DA-RFO in Cordillera, in coordination with the Municipal Government of Tublay, Benguet, has led the transport to Quezon City of 10,000 kilos of vegetables from a farmers’ group,” Dar said.

He added that the Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal (NVAT) in Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya, delivered a total of 3,252,412 kilograms (kg) of assorted vegetables to Luzon, including the National Capital Region (NCR), on March 24-30.

“Other regions are also preparing for the installation of KADIWA stalls and KADIWA on Wheels in their localities, where consumers may avail of fresh vegetables and other food products,” Dar said.

In partnership with the LGUs and the private sector, the DA RFOs will facilitate the pick up and delivery of products for sale in KADIWA stores managed by the respective regional Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division, or the local government. Hauling trucks and even DA vehicles are used for the transport of goods.

Other farm organizations capable of delivering their harvests are encouraged to coordinate with the DA-RFOs.

In Davao, the KADIWA on Wheels sell vegetables and frozen meat products under a partnership with local hog raisers. Products may be availed on a credit basis, with accredited cooperatives as guarantor.

“Iba-iba ang diskarte sa iba’t-ibang rehiyon, pero ang mahalaga ay marami ang nagtutulungana para siguruhin na may pagkain para sa lahat ng Pilipino,” secretary Dar explained.

More importantly, President Rodrigo Duterte assured Filipino farmers and fishers that the government has not forgotten them, stressing that the administration is employing quick response measures to help them, while ensuring food productivity, availability and sufficiency for all.

“Your government is here for you,” the President said in Filipino.

President Duterte also stressed that the unhampered flow of cargoes and workers who are essential in food production will continue. He added that the price freeze in basic commodities is in effect to restrict hoarding and profiteeting.

“Hindi ito panahon para kumita, hindi ito panahon ng pagsasamantala,” he said.

Photo shows DA CAR and Tublay, Benguet LGU personnel loading vegetables produced by the Tublay vegetable growers, to be delivered to Quezon City. Photo grabbed from DA-CAR RAFIS FB page.