By Zaldy Comanda

BAGUIO CITY — The Department of Agriculture has been pushing for the upscaling of its Katuwang sa Diwa at Gawa or KADIWA para sa Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita marketing strategy.

This is to proactively deal with the brunt brought about by the pandemic to both consumers and food producers–all of which leading to the Ahon Lahat, Pagkain Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra sa COVID-19.

The KADIWA ni Ani at Kita, launched September of last year, aims to benefit farmers and consumers from a direct marketing scheme.

The KADIWA marketing strategy opens multiple avenues for the linkage–one of which is the KADIWA Retail. With the KADIWA’s strengthening its marketing activities during this time of crisis, the KADIWA retail store– located at the DA-CAR compound near the road, allows affected farmers to sell their produce.

Adelina Sina-oy from Barangay Loakan Organic Farmers Association (BLOFA), was one of the invited farmers to take part in the KADIWA Retail Store. She claims that prior to being invited by DA-CAR, her produce wasn’t as marketable because of the transport challenges caused by the implemented Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). “Hindi namin maibenta yung product namin…kasi walang biyahe, wala talaga.” She expresses, “Without DA, hindi ko talaga mailalabas ang aking mga produkto.”

Sina-oy first got into Organic farming in 2010. The health of her husband motivated her to engage in organic farming. Eating organically-grown products was an alternative solution to her husband’s condition, which later grew into her livelihood.

She applied what she learned from the training and seminars conducted by the Agricultural Training Institute, and the Organic Agriculture Program.

These include formulating organic concoctions, vermicomposting, Phase 1-4 Internal Control System. Her association, the Barangay Loakan Organic Farmers Association, was able to benefit from various interventions as well, such as the Organic Vegetable Technology Administration in 2014, and the Organic Mini-Retailing Center in 2016. Sina-oy was also able to receive some vegetable seeds in 2016, and molasses in 2019.

“In the first two years, wala kaming income. Sabi namin, ‘Paano kaya kami mabubuhay sa ganito?’ Pero dahil sa mga naitulong ng DA–kagaya ng pagbigay nila ng libreng vegetable seeds, nagkaroon na kami ng sapat na income sa pangatlong taon naming nagprapraktis ng Organic Farming. Kaya tinuloy-tuloy na namin,” she claims.

On average, Sina-oy accommodates about 100 people per day through the KADIWA Retail Store. She discloses that her sales can reach up to as high as P13,000 a day.

So far, DA-CAR has invited other farmer associations to participate. These include: Manpat-a Farmers Association, Tikeng Manyedyed Farmers Association Inc, Buguias Ex-Japan Trainess Association, and the Tuba Natural Grown Farmers Association. Other products from Good Agricultural Practice (GAP)-accredited farms (i.e. Dagwat Savers, Sergio’s Savers Farm, Mugen’s Savers Farm, and Palayen FARMS) are also available in the KADIWA Retail Store.

The store is open on weekdays from 8am-5pm. It is located at the BPI Compound, Guisad,Baguio City.