DON’T look now, but the revitalized Department of Agriculture (DA) is certainly determined to break the stranglehold of erring traders and middlemen of the country’s food supply chain.
Well-prepared to meet the food needs of the burgeoning population, particularly the poorest of the poor, the government hopes to establish a chain of “Malasakit Stores” across the Philippines.
The “Malasakit Stores” will sell not only vegetables and fruits straight from the farms but also rice, sugar and other basic household food items,” according to DA Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol.
Piñol, a former newspaperman and one-time governor of North Cotabato, said the first “Malasakit Store” will be set up at the DA Central Office in Quezon City in what is now the Agribusiness Center.
The government hopes to establish “Malasakit Stores” not only in Metropolitan Manila (MM) but also in other major population centers throughout the country, added Piñol.
Likewise, the DA secretary called on housing subdivision owners to set up their own “Malasakit Stores.”
He urged local government units (LGUs) to use a passbook system so that only residents of the locality will have access to their stores, preventing middlemen from buying and reselling the food items.
Under the program, the DA will handle the shipping and distribution of the commodities to be sold in “Malasakit Stores,” which will be operated by women’s groups supported by LGUs.
In the view of many, the setting up of “Malasakit Stores” will benefit residents, especially the country’s poor who are hit hard by the continued spiraling of prices of food items in the country.
It’s a move in the right direction which we support and applaud without second thoughts.