THE MARCOS administration launched 14 farm-to-consumer stores across the Philippines on Wednesday, as the country faces increasing food prices due to supply issues and expensive fuel.
Eleven of the temporary bazaars under the so-called Kadiwa program of the Department of Agriculture are located in Metro Manila and one each in Tacloban City, Davao De Oro, and South Cotabato.
The Kadiwa stores sell agricultural products as well as other locally-manufactured goods at a lower price since the state shoulders costs for transportation and other expenses, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said at the ceremonial opening attended by Filipino farmers in Mandaluyong City on Thursday.
“We will continue this even after Christmas,” the president said in Filipino, referring to a campaign called Kadiwa ng Pasko, which takes off from the Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita program rolled out during the pandemic.
Headline inflation rose to 7.7% in October from 6.9% a month earlier. Economists said higher prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages reflected the agricultural damage caused by recent typhoons.
Three storms hit the country in early October and their corresponding agricultural damage costs were: Super Typhoon Karding, P3.12 billion; and Tropical Depression Maymay and Typhoon Neneng with a combined P594.02 million.
Another destructive storm which swept through the country in the last four days of October, Severe Tropical Storm Paeng, caused an estimated agricultural damage of over P6.4 billion.
Mr. Marcos, speaking before farmers, said the government cannot do anything about the price increases, noting that they’ve been triggered by global headwinds. “But we are helping in terms of the people’s capacity to buy,” he said in Filipino.
The government plans to put up more Kadiwa stores where producers can directly sell their goods to consumers. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza