The Department of Agriculture (DA), together with Restaurant Owners of the Philippines (Resto PH) and SM Supermalls, has launched its “Farmers’ Produce” project as part of its market intervention program Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita that aims to support farmers and fisherfolk. Through this joint project, farmers and cooperatives will have new outlets for their produce in cities, particularly in malls.

“I’m excited to have started this partnership today and to learn from this initial launching. This partnership project, called Farmers’ Produce, will help give farmers an opportunity to earn a higher income. They have markets in cities and this will encourage them to produce more,” says DA Secretary William Dar, noting that the project will help the agricultural sector and restaurant industry bounce back from the impact of the pandemic.

In their Memorandum of Understanding, SM will offer underutilized spaces for farmers and cooperatives to sell their produce—free of charge. Meanwhile, Resto PH will buy directly from farmers to encourage them to harvest quality produce in large volumes as well as train them in a market-oriented approach in production. The DA Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service says that consumers can save 15 to 20 percent when buying fresh produce from the Kadiwa Farmers’ Produce compared to other nearby markets. 

“Presently, in the case of tomatoes for one, there is so much supply and that’s why when we bring these tomatoes from Ifugao for example to Metro Manila where the market is open, the farmers will be getting the right price as they should normally have during normal times,” says Dar.

Due to limited movement, produce often goes to waste as farmers can’t easily gain access to their fields because of certain restrictions or aren’t delivered right away to key marketplaces. Through this initiative, farmers and cooperatives will be able to sustain their livelihood as well as provide their consumers with fresh, quality products.

The Farmers’ Produce food market will be held next at The Podium from July 15 to 17, 2020.