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Kadiwa stores to continue until food inflation eases

THE government wants to keep its low-cost Kadiwa food outlets in operation until February or March, when it expects food inflation to ease, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. told reporters in chance remarks on Thursday.

“Once we get to a point where it’s no longer necessary, where the prices in the markets are the same as what we can give in the Kadiwa, then we don’t need the Kadiwa anymore,” he said.

“Maybe, just for distribution of goods in far-flung areas, that is where we can revive the old program of mobile Kadiwa stores,” he added. “But we’re not there yet; for now we are still trying to propagate (the store network).”

Kadiwa stores are an ad-hoc network of outlets run by the Department of Agriculture (DA). They can offer lower prices because the DA can buy in bulk, bypasses middlemen, and pays for transport.

Mr. Marcos is concurrently the Agriculture agency.

“We go directly to the suppliers. The government does not need to earn anything, that is why the goods are cheaper,” the President said. “This is the advantage of the Kadiwa.”

Mr. Marcos said he wants the Kadiwa project to expand through partnerships with local government units.

The agriculture program is supported by the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Labor and Employment.

Headline inflation rose to 7.7% in October from 6.9% a month earlier. Economists said higher prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages reflect the crop damage caused by recent typhoons.

Three storms hit the country in early October and their corresponding agricultural damage costs were as follows: Super Typhoon Karding, P3.12 billion and a combined P594.02 million for Tropical Depression Maymay and Typhoon Neneng.

In the last four days of October, Severe Tropical Storm Paeng also caused agricultural damage of over P6.4 billion. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza