‘Kadiwa on Wheels’ to make fruits, veggies available to Iloilo City residents

People residing in Iloilo City will be able to buy fresh agricultural produce right at their doorstep with the operation of ‘Kadiwa on Wheels’ beginning March 31, 2020.

“This is a joint initiative of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Western Visayas and the Iloilo City government in an effort to provide nutritious foods to the consuming public and at the same time giving marketing opportunities to our farmers,” said Maria Teresa Solis, chief of the DA Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division.

Majority of the farmers are having difficulty in disposing their agricultural produce due to strict quarantine measures implemented by the local government units. With that, DA devised some strategies to capacitate farmers during this crisis.

Farmers associations and cooperatives who operate the DA-KOICA’s Bayanihan Tipon Centers (BTCs), and the Rice Processing Centers (RPCs) from the different provinces will man the mobile market in areas yet to be determined by Ariel Castañeda, chief of the Iloilo City’s Local Economic Development Office.

“We continue the Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita program to help our small and marginal farmers earn in the midst of this crisis. In fact, we had already allowed some farmers associations to market their produce every Friday at DA-WESVIARC in Jaro,” Solis said.

On March 27, the Champion Farmers Program of Lambunao, Iloilo generated more than P20,000 sales from selling more or less 300 kilograms of lowland vegetables such as ampalaya, pechay, mustard, squash, cow pea, among others.

Meanwhile, the Kapisanan ng mga Mangunguma sa Patnongon (KAMAPAT) from Antique earned P109,000 from marketing 2,500 kilograms of rice, 172 kilograms of  muscovado sugar, 202 kilograms of mungbean and 600 kilograms of mango.

“At the start, transportation of agricultural products from the province to the city was restricted due to the enhanced community quarantine. But with the food lane pass issued by DA, we can now deliver our products from Lambunao freely,” said Ariel Lastica, chair of the Champion Farmers Program.

He added, “we would like to thank Regional Remelyn Recoter for giving us the chance to sell our products to DA employees as well as motivating us to produce more. After this crisis, the Champion Farmers Program will have another story to tell that we gain additional markets at the same time feeding our fellow Ilonggos.”

KAMAPAT president Henry Doliguez said “DA had lessened the burden of our farmers in Patnongon with these marketing opportunities.”

Both farmers groups are BTC operators and will likewise be involved in the Kadiwa on Wheels program of DA next week.

The Kadiwa on Wheels will operate thrice weekly, according to Solis.

As to date, the agency had issued a total of 3,533 food pass and foodlane pass regionwide. Food pass are being issued to individual farmers or groups to enable unhampered movement of cargoes, agriculture and fishery inputs, and other food products as mandated in the Memorandum Circular No. 9 by DA Secretary William D. Dar. (Story by SMH Toreno/Photos by JMG Improgo)