San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and the Department of Agriculture have expanded the network of “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita” rolling farmers’ stores at Petron gas stations in Metro Manila, a further boost to the agricultural industry reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, while providing consumers easier access to fresh fruits and vegetables straight from local farms.
SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said that its partnership with the DA — covering the Kadiwa stores as well as the purchase of major raw materials for food production — has benefited many farmers suffering from loss of critical markets and income following the necessary imposition of enhanced community quarantine.
“We‘ve heard some reports of farmers who had difficulty shipping their produce, or worse, were left with no choice but to let their produce rot or spoil, or were forced to sell at below-market prices,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.
“Farmers are the backbone of our food supply chain and are essential to our food security, that is why from the very start, we tried to think of programs to help them even more.”
The new “Kadiwa” stores are located at the following Petron gas stations: Bel-Aire Gil Puyat Cor. Makati Ave; EDSA – Sierra Madre; Dasmarinas, EDSA; Katipunan Ave. (La Vista), QC; Shaw Blvd corner Wack Wack; C5-Diego Silang, Taguig; EDSA corner Main Ave. Cubao; 188 E. Rodriguez Jr. QC; Marcos Highway, Pasig; Connecticut, San Juan; Ninoy Aquino Ave. Sucat, Paranaque; Doña Soledad Ave. Better Living, Paranaque; and Dr. A Santos Ave., Sucat Rd., Paranaque.
“Although we are glad to see more traditional markets opening up and catering to more people, there is still a need for the Kadiwa stores, especially for those who live nearby looking for a convenient way to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Anytime they stop by to fill up on fuel, or even if they’re just walking from home, we hope they will buy fresh produce to help our local farmers,” he said.
The Kadiwa stores have complemented SMC’s efforts to boost food accessibility throughout the quarantine. It made fresh poultry, meats, and ready-to-eat products more easily accessible to consumers through the deployment of reefer vans-cum-rolling stores also at Petron gas stations. It also rolled out an online ordering platform, where orders are fulfilled by, and picked up at, nearby Petron Treats outlets.
Apart from the “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita” rolling store program, SMC has also utilized the DA’s network of farmer cooperatives to source agricultural inputs like corn and cassava for its various food products.
Through its long-term agreement with the DA, SMC has purchased 69 million kilos of corn from local farmers, with payments released promptly.
It has recently sourced 92,000 kilos of corn from farmer-cooperatives in Central Luzon and Pangasinan and 50,000 kilos of corn from Camarines Sur. The Maymatan Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Camarines Sur will provide another 100,000 kilos of corn during the period of May 26 to June 15.
SMC has also announced that it is set to buy excess supply of carabao milk from farmer-cooperatives for donation to poor communities and feeding centers in Bulacan, Navotas, and various areas in Metro Manila.