WORKING ON P20/kg RICE Department of Agriculture (DA) Kristine Evangelista says the department is working closely to achieve the administration's goal to offer PHP20/kilogram of rice grains, in a radio interview on Monday (Nov. 28, 2022). She said DA is trying interventions to improve the farmers' production and further enhance the entire value chain which may help lower the rice cost. (Screengrab) 

MANILA– Collaboration among various government agencies beefs up the “Kadiwa ng Pasko”, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday.

In an interview with Radyo Pilipinas, DA Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista said the expansion of the Kadiwa ng Pasko schedules and centers within and outside Metro Manila is carried out through inter-agency cooperation.

Evangelista cited the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as among the agencies that helped DA to make Kadiwa ng Pasko work.

“Hindi lamang po ang Department of Agriculture ang kasali, kundi ‘yung iba pa pong Kagawaran ng ating gobyerno, katulad po ng DTI, DSWD, DILG po ay napakalaki ng role na ginagampanan… Ang DTI naman po ay dala nila ang kanilang mga MSMEs na nagbebenta rin po ng kanilang mga produkto, ganun din po ang DSWD, kung saan mga livelihood beneficiaries naman po nila (Not only the Department of Agriculture is involved, but the other departments of our government, such as the DTI, DSWD, DILG, play a very big role... The DTI brings their MSMEs so they can sell their products, so does the DSWD, where they are the livelihood beneficiaries),” she said.

Kadiwa schedules

The cooperation of local government units, is also laudable, Evangelista said. Through LGUs initiatives, the frequency of holding “Kadiwa ng Pasko” day has increased.

“Bukod po doon sa ating Kadiwa ng Pasko na every payday, mayroon din po tayong ibang areas na weekly na po, mayroon din tayong areas na three times a week, at ang atin pong pinalalakas ‘yung ating Kadiwa store na araw-araw pong bukas ano, so this is the direction na ating tinatahak (Apart from our Kadiwa ng Pasko that is every payday, we also have other areas that are weekly. We also have areas that are three times a week, and the one we are strengthening is our Kadiwa store that is open every day. So, this is the direction we are going),” she added.

On Sunday, the DA-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) posted the Kadiwa ng Pasko schedules from Nov. 28 to Dec. 4 in various parts of Quezon City, Parañaque, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Cainta, Valenzuela, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, Makati, Navotas, Pateros, San Juan City, Taguig, Manila and Marikina.

Meanwhile, Evangelista said the government is still working on the campaign promise of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to offer the public rice grains that can be bought at P20 per kilo.

“We are working on it, kasi para po natin ma-achieve ‘yung bente pesos, inaayos din po natin ‘yung production, ‘yung yield of production ng ating mga magsasaka will definitely contribute sa pagbaba ng presyo (We are working on it, because for us to achieve the PHP20 (per kilo), we have to adjust the production. The yield of production of our farmers will definitely contribute to the price reduction),” Evangelista said.

She also underscored the need to improve the country’s post-harvest interventions to avoid wastage and ensure efficient logistics.

In Kadiwa ng Pasko sites, a kilogram of rice is being sold at PHP25, however, the prevailing prices of rice in Metro Manila range from PHP38/kg for regular milled rice, PHP40/kg for well-milled rice, PHP45/kg to premium rice and PHP50 for special rice. (PNA)