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Saturday, June 22, 2024

DA eyes creation of food hubs to streamline agricultural supply chain

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) seeks to revitalize the country’s agricultural supply chain with the introduction of food hubs to bridge the gap between traditional food terminals and the accessibility of KADIWA centers.

“We lack food terminals in the country—places where buyers and sellers could transact on a wholesale level. This food hub will be part of the DA’s logistics roadmap,” said Agriculture secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel.

While the DA’s food hubs initiative falls under their broader logistics roadmap, the plan targets to streamline the agricultural supply chain, ensuring a steady flow of crucial agricultural goods at affordable prices, especially in areas with high demand.

The department has already begun negotiations for a one-hectare property in Marikina’s BFCT Bagsakan Center to serve as the initial location for these food hubs. The chosen model is either a joint venture or a long-term lease agreement.

Developing the first food hub is expected to take approximately 12 months. Construction will include essential facilities like cold storage and dry warehouses to extend the shelf life of agricultural products.

“While the management of these food hubs will fall under the purview of Food Terminals Inc. (FTI), a KADIWA component will be integrated into their operations,” the DA secretary explained.

He added that the overarching goal of the initiative is to help farmers and cooperatives increase income while providing consumers, especially those in urban centers, access to affordable agricultural products.

The food hub project aligns with President Marcos’ vision, harking back to his time as agriculture secretary when he established KADIWA distribution hubs and stores.

He noted the outlets played a crucial role in improving access to essential goods for underprivileged Filipinos.

The decision to locate the first food hub near an existing food distribution center is expected to facilitate easy access for both suppliers and buyers.

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