Serving as Department of Agriculture (DA) counterpart for the procurement of a hauling and delivery vehicle to assist in the vegetable consolidation and marketing of Caliking Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative (CFMPC) in Atok, Benguet, DA granted PHP 600,000 to the aforementioned cooperative under its enhanced KADIWA program on October 29.
As DA Secretary William Dar’s brainchild, the enhanced KADIWA Inclusive Food Supply Chain Program aims to support farmer and fisherfolk cooperatives or associations (FCAs) by giving financial grants to qualified FCAs that can act as an assembler, consolidator, or distributor of food commodities and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) that can operate a KADIWA retail store.
Caliking Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative being an active FCA consolidating farmer’s produce, operating a community store, and providing agri-related production loan in Atok, underwent stringent evaluation by the DA Cordillera’s Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Division (DA-CAR AMAD) relevant to its application for the financial grant.
With complete documents, viable business plan, and cash counterpart, the farmers’ cooperative is expected to expand its current marketing activity through the acquisition of a hauling and transport vehicle that enable them to sell their commodities to trading centers or retailers.
According to Constance Pagaddut, Board of Directors Chairman, Covid-19 caused a massive impact in vegetable supply and demand. He shared that during the onslaught of the pandemic, farmer members had to negotiate with vegetable price drop just to sell their produce. “We were challenged during the community quarantine with the supply and pricing of traders, but with the help of DA especially this grant of the vehicle for marketing, we could directly link farmers to Manila. Our income will increase,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Secretary Dar emphasized his assurance to an amplified and continuous agriculture intervention in Benguet and across Cordillera. According to him “Benguet supplies 80-85% of the vegetable requirement of the whole country. That is how important [Benguet] is, so we need to protect this industry.”
As his administration’s thrust, Dar highlighted the importance of extending market development assistance to strengthen agricultural cooperatives. “[Ang] gusto ko mangyari [ang] mga farmers coop, sila na magmarket ng products nila sa manila at hindi na dadaan sa Trinidad at tutulong po kami in identifying your markets in Metro Manila,” encouraged Dar.
He also expressed his hopes to boost the agriculture sector in rural communities underscoring the success of KADIWA in Ani at Kita in facilitating the marketing of agricultural commodities. “It is all about linking production to the market and in between we have to see to it that we have trading posts every step of the way [and] we have logistics like the trucks we are giving with our new Expanded Kadiwa Support Project,” he explained.
As of the moment, DA-CAR AMAD is reviewing 30 FCAs and CBOs from Benguet, Mountain Province, and Ifugao for the Enhanced KADIWA grant. //MJDacillo//