DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte is committed to perfect the food supply chain in the country by the third year of his administration.
This as the President lauded the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Ayala Corporation for initiating a partnership that would help farmers and fisherfolk freed from middlemen or cartels and provide market access to sell products at fair price.
This also results in cheaper food products for consumers. “For, after all, it’s the Department of Agriculture who’s responsible if we go hungry or we have a full stomach,” Duterte said, adding that Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol is responsible for the sustainability of the food supply.
“So ‘yung food chain talaga ng Pilipinas (So the food chain in the Philippines) must be at least perfected by — on the third year of my administration,” he said.
Republic Act 10611 refers to food supply chain as the stages in the production of food from primary production, post-harvest handling distribution, processing and preparation for human consumption. RA 10611 also sets the guidelines for facilitating market access for local foods and food products.
In his message following the media interview, Duterte cited the Ayala Corporation for its corporate social responsibility of providing space free of charge for the farmers at the Abreeza Mall that is similar to a food terminal. Ayala will also buy farmers’ products.
Duterte said farmers and fisherfolk would no longer deal with middlemen, who earn more than the farmers.
“The less people dipping their fingers in the movement of the merchandisers — food, the lesser, tapos wala ‘yung taxation ng NPA, mas mabuti. Medyo mababa. Pag nandyan ‘yung NPA, mas mahal ‘yung gulay kasi akala nila gobyerno rin sila (then if the taxation from NPA (New People’s Army) is gone, better. At least its (price) lower. If the NPA is there vegetables are more expensive because they thought they are also the government),” Duterte said.
The President thanked the Ayala’s for sponsoring activities such as the TienDA as a corporate conscience to help the Filipino people.
Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation, said the idea of TienDA was decided early on although he admitted that agriculture is not part of the world of the Ayala.
He said the Ayala Foundation and the Ayala Corporation saw the need to help farmers and end users.
Ayala was grateful for the government in accepting the opportunity and hoped to continue with the initiative.
As a complement, Duterte said his administration will find a way to help farmers in the transportation since only vehicles with four-wheel drives can access farms in the mountain areas.
“So we will look into these things but it will bring down the prices,” he said.
While this takes a toll on the business of middlemen, Duterte pointed out that the government should ensure there is supply at a fair price.
The TienDA outlet is aimed at providing access for farmers and consumers with fresh agricultural products fresh at a farm-gate price. It is a marketing strategy which aims to lower food prices by eliminating layers of middlemen in the supply chain consequently increasing farmers and fisherfolks’ income and providing them market opportunities.
This is in line with the President’s directive of making food affordable and available for all.
At Abreeza Mall’s TienDA, consumers can avail of a wide array of fruits, vegetables, dairy, and seafood products coming from producers in Mindanao.
DA-XI Regional Director Ricardo Oñate, Jr. said this new marketing strategy could help dismantle the so-called cartels that control the supply and prices of agricultural goods.
“The conduct of TienDA exemplifies the Department’s support to our agricultural producers and to encourage them to produce more. TienDA outlets would ensure the farmers’ produce to be directly available to consumers,” Oñate said.
The said activity is in partnership with the Ayala Malls which seeks to open the Ayala Malls to our food producers and bring TienDA to major urban centers.
Agriculture Secretary Pinol said it is a sad story when traders and middlemen dictate the prices of the food supply.
He said cartel is an age-old practice which also affects farmers’ productivity.
Pinol said the farmers and fisherfolk can sell products at the Abreeza twice every week.
At Abreeza TienDA from November 18-19, a total of 37 exhibitors composed of farmers, fisherfolk and rural entrepreneurs from different regions of Mindanao have participated.
The TienDa sa Ayala Malls will be launched also in other cities: Ayala Mall in Cebu City on November 25; Uptown Quezon City on December 2; Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa on December 9; The 30th Pasig City on December 16; and, Solenad in Laguna on January 18.
Pinol said food terminals should be the destination of the farmers and fisherfolk products.
DA reported that The TienDA has proven to be profitable for farmers and valuable consumers. Selling at prices below the market price, TienDa sales amounted to PHP4.579 million for the four legs of TienDA previously conducted by DA. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)