The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it will partner with Grab Philippines and other enterprises with online-driven platforms to speed up movement of food and agricultural products from provinces to consumers.
DA secretary William Dar made the announcement during webinar on Tuesday, April 28, hosted by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca).
The delivery of goods will become available to consumers online through the expanded “Kadiwa Express” initiative, Dar said. The Kadiwa Express will use cloud and other tracking tools — possibly including RFID — that can monitor where goods are located while in transit or where the blockade in their transport happens.
The “Kadiwa on Wheels” may similarly be able to track where the goods are needed and may become venues for consumers to buy food direct from farm producers.
The agency said the digital initiative could make food not only more available but affordable, noting that the lockdown has restricted delivery of food and agricultural goods, sending much volume to waste. Worse, consumers suffer from higher prices due to supply logistics bottlenecks, it said
“Because of Covid-19, food affordability, not only availability, becomes critical. The threat (food affordability) is as real as hunger itself. If the supply chain is disrupted, food produced in rural areas just go to waste,” said Dar. “Price stability is the key to growing the economy. We need to promote digitalization of agriculture even in marketing.”
Searca director Glenn B. Gregorio said during the webinar that despite the challenges brought about by the global pandemic, the Covid-19 lockdown has opened opportunities for urban agriculture.
Gregorio said this is an apt time for the country to adopt “Agriculture 4.0” concept focusing on the use of big data, Internet of Things (IoT), precision farming, and disruptive agriculture for increased business efficiency (Proagrica).