By Gumamela Bejarin, DA-AFID

The Department of Agriculture (DA) and private sector partners launched on May 4, the “eKadiwa,” an online marketing platform that directly links producers and agripreneurs to consumers.

“Through eKadiwa, we strengthen our commitment to providing every Filipino family a convenient and easier way to buying fresh, nutritious, and safe food products by simply using a mobile phone or computer,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

Customers only need to visit eKadiwa.da.gov.ph, where they can order a wide range of fresh and affordable farm and fishery products from initially three merchants: AgriNurture, Inc. (ANI); Zagana, Inc.; and Benjabi Ventures Corp., said Dennis Layug, DA senior technical adviser, tasked by Secretary Dar as project lead.

The ordered goods are paid initially through cash-on-delivery (COD) or bank transfer, said Layug, adding that the DA is currently negotiating with commercial banks to effect payment via credit card.

Thereafter, the goods will be delivered initially via Mober, Inc. Other transport and delivery service providers like Lalamove and Grab have signified joining the eKadiwa project, Layug added.

“In the coming days, we expect to partner with more farmers’ and fishers’ groups, and merchants. Individual sellers or producers’ groups can also register as vendors for free at the eKadiwa site, and this would enable us to reach more customers,” said secretary Dar.

The eKadiwa will initially cover Metro Manila and eventually expand to other major urban areas nationwide, the DA chief said.

ANI President and CEO Antonio Tiu said: “This is an opportunity for us to showcase our ‘bayanihan’ spirit and take part in the agriculture sector’s paradigm shift towards modernization. This is a good example of a successful public-private partnership.”

“eKadiwa could be the biggest e-commerce site in the agriculture sector,” he added. Asked on the prospects of eKadiwa, Basil Bolinao of Mober Inc. said they are expecting a peak of 20,000 deliveries per day in Metro Manila.

“In all, the food supply chain will always be a part of ‘essential services,’ with or without COVID-19. The eKadiwa further expands ‘Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita,’ complementing our regular outlets and rolling stores in Metro Manila and other areas nationwide,” concluded secretary Dar.

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