Buang, Tabaco City—It was a sunny Monday morning and farmers Merlyn Buseo and Edgardo Bonayon were beaming with happiness as they pile their harvest of squash, ampalaya, sayote, repolyo, cucumber, eggplant and winged beans.
“Dai ko mati an kamunduan kan problema kan kuru-CoViD na yan ta maogmahon ako sa proyekto kan Department of Agriculture na babakalon an sakuyang pinagalan na tama sa presyo. Tipid pa sa transportasyon!” exclaimed Buseo.
Their produce was bought by DA-Bicol through the Albay Research Development Center Superintendent Jania Elatico to be sold that same day during the launching of “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita On Wheels” in the province of Albay.
Kadiwa started rolling and sold rice, assorted vegetables and fresh fish from farmers and fishermen at reasonably low prices at the entrance of the ARDC.
Elatico said that through this mobile store, the goods were sold cheaper because of the absence of middlemen. The saving they derived from the cheaper price can be used to buy more.
She also related that Kadiwa store is done in coordination with the LGU Tabaco which directly buys the products of farmers and fisherfolks of the city. They will be assisted by the Solo Parent Organization who will provide store outlets in the 24 barangays with products from the upland barangays of the city.
The two Kadiwa stores in Barangay San Lorenzo cater to the farmers, fisherfolks and consumers from the municipalities of Malilipot and Bacacay while the store in barangay Pawa is for the municipalities of Malinao and Tiwi.
Kadiwa stands for Katuwang sa Diwa at Gawa para sa Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita is a marketing scheme by the DA which directs farmers to the consumers, removing trading layers which reduces the cost of products.
This is also DA-Bicol’s move in response to Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar’s directive to keep food sufficient in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
The agriculture chief also ensured that farmers can market their produce while at the same time, providing the consumers with affordable, safe and nutritious food.
A resident of the area related that, “dakulang tabang ining Kadiwa digdi sa barangay mi dahil bako lang sa barato na, dai na kami makikisuksukan sa merkado para makabakal nin gulay asin sira..”
Under the project, farmers are allowed to sell rice, fruits, vegetables, and other agricultural products without negotiating with middlemen. They will sell produce directly to the Department of Agriculture.
The Kadiwa project has been rolling in other parts of the region. During the marketing activity, the facilitators emphasized the importance of social distancing, proper hand sanitation and wearing of masks as part of the Enhanced Community Quarantine protocols.
The project is the government’s take on the Marcos-era Kadiwa store system in a bid to help both farmers and consumers.
DA-Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla said that with or without crisis, Kadiwa stores will continue rolling in various provinces in the region.
“Dakulaon an natipid mi asin nawara su kahaditan mi kun saen mi ipapabakal an mga gulayon mi dahil sa proyektong ini kan DA. Dios mabalos po marhay.” Bonayon said. (jaysonmgonzales with photos from Ronald Coprada)