July 24, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 214 views

A neophyte solon urged his colleagues in Congress to prioritize the passage of a measure that will institutionalize the agribusiness and marketing initiative intended to help link local farmers and fishers directly to consumers.

AGRI Party-list Representative Wilbert Lee made this call following the aggressiveness of the government to pursue the establishment of Kadiwa centers in the country.

Lee, principal author of House Bill No. 3957 or the Kadiwa Agri-Food Terminal Act, pointed out that “data from the Department of Agriculture shows that by April 2021, 41,357 farmers had already benefited from the Kadiwa program, generating sales of 7.241 billion pesos and serving nearly 4 million households.”

“Patunay ito na napakalaki ng potensyal ng programang ito, at marami pang pwedeng makinabang kung palalawakin natin ang Kadiwa,” he said.

“Panalo ang mga magsasaka dito kasi pwede silang kumita nang maayos dahil wala nang middleman. Panalo din ang konsyumer kasi nabibili nila nang mas mura ang mga agri and fisheries products. Sa Kadiwa program, malinaw na Winner Tayo Lahat,” he added.

The Kadiwa Agri-Food Terminal Act aims to scale up the Kadiwa food terminal model and effectively promote the growth of the local agricultural markets while providing consumers with affordable agriculture and fisheries products.

“Once rolled out in every city and municipality, these agri-food terminals and centers can serve as a location where local farmers and fisherfolk can sell their goods directly to the consumers and the general market,” Lee said.

He pointed out that prices in Kadiwa centers should be lower by 10 to 20 percent “since bringing the products won’t entail high transportation costs.”

The proposed measure mandates local government units (LGUs) to establish Kadiwa Agri-food terminals in their localities in one of the following modes: Kadiwa Retail or Direct Selling: physical food terminals to accommodate farmers and fisherfolk products for sale to customers and food suppliers; Kadiwa on Wheels: rolling stores in vehicles to bring agri-fishery products to barangays and villages; and Kadiwa sa Pamahalaan: trading centers within the proximity of the government’s property office through partnership with the DA or other government agency within the LGU.

The government recently expanded the Kadiwa initiative on July 17 when President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. led the nationwide launching of “Kadiwa ng Pangulo” in San Fernando, Pampanga.

The launch was formalized through the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (M O A) with national government agencies, including the Department of the Interior and Local Government, to assist LGUs and to facilitate the establishment of Kadiwa centers in their respective jurisdictions.