DA unveils digital initiative to link farmers, fishers to consumers

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday, May 5, launched the “eKadiwa” digital project that links farm producers to consumers amid the extended enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). 

DA secretary William Dar (right) and AgriNurture Inc. chief executive Antonio Tiu sign the memorandum of agreement for the “eKadiwa” at the DA Conference Room in Quezon City on Monday, May. (PNA photo by Joey O. Razon)

“During this difficult time, we in government must undertake innovative strategies to provide an easier and safer way for our farmers, fishers, and agripreneurs to sell their produce and for consumers to access them from the comfort and safety of their homes,” DA Secretary William Dar said in his speech during the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with agripreneurs AgriNurture Inc. (ANI), Zagana Inc., Benjabi Ventures Corp., and logistics firm Mober.

Dar said eKadiwa will be available initially via DA website. “Very soon, we will make eKadiwa more accessible through a mobile application which users can download and use on their mobile phones, tablets and other mobile devices, making eKadiwa a truly multi-platform digital public service,” he said.

Under the agreement, agripreneurs will be allowed to sell various agriculture produce including vegetables, rice, and fruits at the suggested retail prices of these products.

ANI chief executive Antonio Tiu said its e-commerce portal offers a range of agricultural produce including plant-based substitutes. It also offers electronic payment options for convenience of buyers and logistic partners, he added.

“The official program partner-participant shall use or follow the suggested retail price (SRP) issued by the DA, and other government authorities, in the retail sales of covered agricultural and fishery products, such as but not limited to price freeze orders by government authorities,” the MOA states.

However, the MOA said the cost of logistics or delivery services for orders of agricultural and fishery products on the e-Kadiwa online portal shall be separate from the suggested retail price, unless offered as free service by the official program partner-participant seller.

The DA said the use of the online market portal is free of charge by its users and official program partner-participants. “As such, payment for the sale of agricultural products shall be done directly to the official program partner-participant online seller, or logistics or delivery service provider,” the agreement states.

The contract of exchange or sale, and cost of logistics or delivery shall be between the online buyer and the official program partner-participant online seller, or delivery service company.

The DA said there are already 12,000 farmers benefiting from its new online program, which it had activated to help the agricultural sector and consumers cope with the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Food supply chain will always be a part of ‘essential services’, with or without Covid-19. With the launch of the eKadiwa, we further strengthen our market linkage program that we intensified through the Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita outlets and rolling stores amidst this global medical emergency,” Dar said.

He said it also paves the way to the digital transformation and automation of the agency in its drive towards ‘Agriculture 4.0’ on new digital technologies and innovations. “(These) are increasingly becoming part of the ‘new normal’ in the ways people operate and connect,” he added. — Lilybeth Ison (PNA)

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