DA assists Central Luzon farmers, fisherfolks amid price hike

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — Department of Agriculture (DA) continues to assist farmers and fisherfolks in Central Luzon amid the rising prices of commodities.

The agency directly links them to buyers through Kadiwa trade fairs and market outlets.

DA Regional Field Office III Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division OIC-Chief Maricel Dullas said Kadiwa is an initiative of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., who is also the current Secretary of Agriculture. 

“We provide free area or space for the producers to directly sell their products. We also conduct trade fairs in malls to help farmers to bring their products to the Kadiwa centers,” she explained during the Dagyaw The Open Government Town Hall Meeting 2023 held at SM City Telabastagan.

Dullas added that this is vital to continue assisting farmers and fisherfolks to get higher profit given that Central Luzon is the major producer of different agricultural products to feed its neighboring regions especially Metro Manila. 

The region’s major agricultural products include rice, onion, chicken, meat, pork, eggs, tilapia, and lowland vegetables.

Among these commodities, onion, pork, and vegetable products were recorded to be the most sensitive commodities in the past three years as their prices fluctuate from time to time.

In addition, Dullas emphasized that DA is also providing the Kadiwa Financial Grant Assistance Program to deserving farmers, fisherfolks, and agricultural cooperatives and associations.

“This is to improve the food distribution system nationwide by capacitating them [beneficiaries] to become reliable and efficient food commodity suppliers, increasing their engagement and participation in Kadiwa selling activities by encouraging partnerships with private sectors or institutional buyers to ensure sustainability,” she furthered.

The grant may be used as trading or working capital, in the purchase of equipment or machinery, procurement of transport and delivery vehicles, and establishment and rehabilitation of storage facilities, warehouses, post-harvest facilities and processing centers.

Beneficiaries may also allot the money in the procurement of retail selling equipment, establishment and renovation of Kadiwa stores, or tolling for machinery and equipment in shared facilities.

DA has distributed 30 trucks since 2021 which are being used to gather all the products of the farmers directly from their farms to markets.

The first Dagyaw in the region this year carried the theme “Maunlad na Gitnang Luzon Tungo sa Progresibong Nasyon.”

It was organized by Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Budget and Management, and Philippine Information Agency in partnership with the provincial government of Pampanga, city government of San Fernando, national government agencies, and civil society organizations. (CLJD/JLDC-PIA 3 with Mica Zabala and Lou Manalo, Interns)