THERE is now an agreement that provides accessible cold storage facilities to farmers and fisherfolks nationwide so that farm-fresh produce like vegetables, meat and poultry, as well as fish and seafood are safely and properly stored.
It would also help ensure that said products last longer before they are transported especially to those areas where such commodities are either scarce or are very expensive.
Entered into by the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Department of Agriculture (DA), the tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) aims to further strengthen the “Palamigan ng Bayan” program and mitigate the rising prices of agricultural commodities in Metro Manila and Luzon.
Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi said it is hoped the project will reach more farmers and fisherfolk to help provide them a steady livelihood during this challenging period.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the DOTr was still able to deploy 11 reefer container vans last year in various municipalities and cities nationwide, which helped boost the government’s response against the crippling economic impact of the global health crisis.
“The DOE is privileged to partner with the DOTr and DA to help our farmers, fisherfolk and their families in this very difficult period in our country. We will do our best to help them in any way we can, and hopefully, the Palamigan ng Bayan will further make a difference,” said Cusi.
The Energy chief added that the “Palamigan ng Bayan” further illustrates the Water-Energy-Food nexus and how this interrelationship is crucial to the country’s recovery and long-term sustainable development.
Cusi signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) together with Secretary Tugade and Agriculture Secretary William Dar at the DOE headquarters in Bonifacio Global City, where he expressed hope that the project will bring about better facilities and maximize the use of technology and innovation to better prepare our agricultural sector to the new normal as the demand for food and prime commodities grows.
Technology, he said, will help “make our farmers better equipped to see to it that their hard work is paid with the commensurate amount of money that they have invested in it, without being abused by middlemen and unscrupulous traders.”
The DA, meanwhile, sees the tripartite project as an opportunity to mitigate the contraction of supply in Metro Manila, while providing new markets for products from Mindanao, Visayas, and the other neglected producers and products from rural communities.
“This pandemic has truly brought out the best in everyone,” says Dar, who states that farmers from as far as Benguet and Bukidnon now have ready access to markets in Luzon.
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