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SMC opens two pilot stores for local farmers to start selling produce at Petron stations

SMC Kadiwa
Photo credit: Mr. Nonong Velasco, QC Food Security Task Force Head.

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has opened its first local farm produce stands in two Petron stations as it prepares to open more such stores throughout Metro Manila to help provide outlets for local farmers to sell their crops during these difficult times.

The two fresh produce stores are located at Petron Katipunan near La Vista subdivision, and Petron Zabarte station in Caloocan. Both stores are operated by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The program, which is in support of the DA’s Kadiwa ng Ani at Kita nationwide agri market program, aims to provide local farmers with a ready market for their products, especially at this time when the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly restricted access to markets.

At the same time, it makes fresh, healthy produce more easily accessible to consumers via Petron’s vast network of gas stations.

“During this time of crisis, our farmers, livestock raisers, fishermen, and everyone in the agricultural sector, are also unsung heroes. We depend on them for our food supply. And yet, they are also among the most vulnerable to the crisis, especially since quarantine restrictions also impact their access to their traditional markets,” explained SMC president Ramon S. Ang.

“That is why we are grateful to DA Secretary William Dar for giving us the chance to help our farmers through their Kadiwa program. This way, our farmers can still continue their livelihood even during this pandemic,” Ang said.

“At the same time, we will help boost food accessibility for our citizens, who are asked to limit their movement to essential activities during the quarantine,” he added.

Earlier, SMC rolled out the first 30 of its target 90 refrigerated van-cum-rolling stores, now situated at various Petron stations. The trucks bring fresh poultry, meats, and ready-to-eat food closer to consumers.

Meanwhile, six Petron Treats convenience stores—out of a target 50 branches—have also started doubling as pick-up/fulfillment stores for San Miguel Foods Inc.’s new online ordering plaform, www.order.sanmiguelfoods.com.

Ang added that Petron Corporation and San Miguel Foods Inc., both major businesses under SMC, are currently finalizing plans with the DA to roll out the next farmers’ produce outlets.

In a statement, DA Secretary William Dar said: “Our partnerships with the LGUs, the private sector like SMC and Petron, and farmers’ and fisherfolk’s groups, attain what we at the Department of Agriculture wanted all along to institutionalize, that is, ensure farmers of a ready market for their produce and a steady income stream, and provide consumers with affordable, healthy and nutritious food. Further, along the process, we also help stabilize the prices of basic commodities.”

Implemented by the DA’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service, the Kadiwa program has four variants: Kadiwa on Wheels (vans, jeepneys, trucks, etc.); Kadiwa Retail (fixed location); Kadiwa Express (transport of products to offloading points where LGUs or private sector can collect their orders), and Kadiwa online (eKadiwa.da.gov.ph).