The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) e-Kadiwa has continued to expand, with more merchants taking part in bringing following the safe, healthy, and fresh farm produce in Metro Manila through a digital platform system.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar yesterday signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Mama Sitas, Tuko Fresh Produce, Farmers Juan Ranch, Moolk Creamy Corporation, Moneth Agri Store, Chef’s Corner Meat Outlet, Chicqhenn Mart, Rico’s Lechon, and Lively Grain.

The nine new merchants are now among DA partners who will sell products online and deliver on the same day.

“Digital technology has become a very important tool to enhance agriculture. With all the lockdowns, we need to empower and enhance these mechanisms for the future,” Dar said.

The agri chief added that the Department will ensure that the products sold in the e-Kadiwa meet the requirement of food law relevant to their activities in the food supply chain and that control systems are in place to prevent, eliminate or reduce risks to consumers.

Alongside the nine merchants, DA has also partnered with Grab Express and Lalamove for logistics and delivery service.

Secretary Dar explained that with the disturbance caused by the pandemic in the efforts of the government to modernize, industrialize and digitalize agriculture, an upgraded mechanism such as e-Kadiwa is required to adapt to the new norm.

He added that policy reform should be made focusing on increased food sufficiency levels in all commodities, export orientation strengthened, and a roadmap for all commodities developed.

“Alam naman natin na kulang na kulang in most of the commodities. The potential is there. I agree. We have yet to see the budgetary support from the government plus investment from the private sectors to be made,” Dar said.

The merchants thanked the DA for its efforts in providing a system that will help both the producers and the consumers.