The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Friday revealed its plans to introduce lower-priced locally-grown agricultural produce to the Metro Manila market in a bid to address the rising prices of basic food and produce in the capital region. The DA would accomplish this by opening TienDA Malasakit stores across the metropolis, strategically placed in the most highly populated and densely packed areas, such as Barangay Payatas.
According to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, the rising prices of food items in Metro Manila is not a result of supply shortage, but rather due to trader’s manipulations of pricing. The solution proposed by the DA to flood the market with cheaper goods is viable because it should disrupt the manipulation.
“The price rise is artificial,” Piñol said while on the sidelines of the recently concluded two-day TienDA Malasakit outlet’s opening and the Bureau of Plant Industry’s (BPI) central office in Manila. Piñol added that increasing supply and easing entry for cheaper agricultural produce sources from various provinces would ease the spiraling food costs in the National Capital Region.
TienDA Malasakit outlets will operate on Fridays and Saturdays until the prices in the market stabilize, said Piñol on Facebook.
The recent passing of Typhoon Ompong through Northern Luzon saw the Cordillera region, the traditional source of vegetables for Metro Manila, battered and severely affected by the storm’s destruction. The result is some profiteers taking advantage of the damage and dire situation caused by Ompong to jack up priced of food bought there and resold in other locations, such as Metro Manila.
“The government won’t allow profiteering to persist”, said Piñol.
The TienDA initiative is a marketing strategy by the DA that was launched last year in Metro Manila. The program aims to promote affordable food nationwide and facilitate its availability by providing TienDA outlets. Here, farmers and fishers can directly sell their produce to consumers, cutting down costs by trimming the supply chain.
The recent TienDA Malasakit center hosted vendors selling carrots, sayote, potatoes and other vegetables, along with fruits, and fish products sourced from various provinces. The vegetables were sourced from Bukidnon province’s Impasugong, Talakag, Sumilao and Lantapan (IMTASULA) towns.