Bicolanos are not only resilient but are also “madiskarte” or skilled at devising ways and means and ingenious amid odds and adversities. This trait is again being overtly demonstrated despite difficulties and limitations now imposed under the Enhanced Community Quarantine which restrict movement and social contact to combat the spread of COVID 19.

The social media is replete with stories of our fellow Filipinos doing their own thing to address the problem of lack of face masks and Personal Protective Equipment for our frontline health workers.

Not to be outdone the backline workers – the people ensuring the availability, accessibility and affordability of food for our people amidst this national crisis were also busy finding ingenious ways to bring food from the farm to our table.

The Department of Agriculture, through the leadership of William Dar has been finding ways to carry out its mandate of ensuring sufficient supply and efficient delivery of food items. One such strategy is the KADIWA posts or centers and the KADIWA on Wheels. KADIWA which stands for Katuwang sa DIwa at Gawa ni Ani at Kita is a Distribution and Marketing strategy which aims to ensure that households affected by the enhanced community quarantine will have access to the food supply.

In the Bicol region. DA Regional Executive director Rodel P. Tornilla has mobilized the personnel in its Research Outreach Stations (ROS) in every province to serve as KADIWA posts or drop off points of agricultural products on a consignment basis. At the DA regional office a KADIWA post has also been opened to the public but abiding by the rules of enhanced community quarantine. Farmers cooperatives and associations were also engaged by the DA in this KADIWA scheme. Among them is the Camarines Sur Multipurpose Cooperative a recipient of DA’s Rice Processing Complex and other assistance now operates a KADIWA on Wheels.

This measure has helped local farmers sell their produce without spending much for transportation cost . It has also made agricultural goods and commodities available and accessible to consumers at lower prices as these good don’t have to pass through multiple market layers before reaching them. As of March 31, the Agribusiness Marketing and Assistance Division which is in the frontline of the KADIWA project has recorded a cumulative sale of of P1,078, 804 million . Of these P111,583 was generated at the KADIWA post at the DA regional office; P160,220 by the ROS or the Dairy Production and Training Center in Sorsogon; and P807 ,000 by the Camarines Sur Multiple Purpose Cooperative KADIWA on Wheels.

Some of the Farmers associations which participated in the KADIWA sa DA are: Sto. Nino Pili Grower Association, Caroyroyan Farmers group, Magarao Multipurpose Coop and SAAD beneficiaries through the Sorsogon Dairy Production and Training Center.

Many LGUs in the region have also launched their own market –on-wheels scheme to make food available, accessible and affordable to their constituents. Mpst of them had included fresh vegetables and other food crops produced by their local farmers in the package of assistance they are distributing to the most affected members of their community to sustain them at this difficult time.

The DA Bicol is again gearing up to launch the ‘”Rice Mill sa DA “ and to roll on the Rice Mill on Wheels. Under this scheme the DA will accept a minimum of 2bags (50 kg.) palay per household to be milled at the DA regional office and designated facilities from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon on a first come first served basis. Payment may be in cash at P2.00 per kg. or in kind – the rice bran derived after milling . The Rice Mill on Wheels on the other hand will be going around the barangays on a pre-arranged schedule.

In Metro Manila the DA has also started the On-line Kadiwa – to bring farmers .’produce door to door where orders can be placed on-line. This is already being practiced by some enterprising Bicolanos.

At the household levels many families are now engaged in backyard vegetable production, container or urban gardening and various other initiatives or “diskarte” aq they put into practice the knowledge and skills they have learned from trainiings and on-line tutorials. 

Earlier the DA has provided vegetable seeds cascaded through the LGUs to be distributed to households for planting in their respective yards or garden to ensure food availability in every household while the ECQ is in effect. The Food Lane Accreditation and issuance of Food pass or stickers had also been set into motion to ensure unhampered delivery of agricultural goods and services.

Edwin P. Erlanda , anchor of the farm radio rogram “Mata ng Bayan “ and chairperson o a f farmers cooperative in Ocampo, Camarines Sur expressed appreciation for the measures being undertaken by the DA as explained by this writer during a recent guEsting in his program; “Nakakagian sa boot asin nakakabawas kan mga paghandal na maaraman na may mga ginigibong lakdan ang DA para sa samong mga paraoma. Kaipuhan lang ipadagos an paghigos asin maging madiskarte kita sa tahaw kaining inaatubang tang krisis,” he enthuses.

Indeed Bicolanos will never run out of .ideas and “diskarte” to cope, overcome and survive any adversity including this COVID 19 pandemic. (Emily. B. Bordado)