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Sustainability fears raised over extended use of KADIWA stores

By Ashley Erika O. Jose, Reporter

A MEMBER of the Monetary Board (MB) has warned that an extensive network of subsidized KADIWA stores to distribute cut-price farm produce could be unsustainable.

MB member Bruce J. Tolentino told reporters that the KADIWA network should operate at “targeted” locations for limited periods.

Commenting on proposals to expand the reach of Kadiwa rolling stores to supermarkets, Mr. Tolentino said: “You can only keep it up briefly… for a few weeks (or) months as it will cost the government money. I think that if we view KADIWA as a targeted, short-term assistance, it will be useful, but over the long term, it is wasteful.”

Mr. Tolentino was speaking on the sidelines of a seminar hosted by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines and San Miguel Corp. on Saturday.

The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) had proposed to expand the rollout of the KADIWA stores to sell sugar seized from smugglers, as well as other commodities, at supermarkets.

The SRA groceries and supermarket chains are offering space for KADIWA outlets.

Mr. Tolentino declared his support for KADIWA locations near depressed communities, as well as during emergencies and disasters, and within a limited period only.

“It’s quick-acting but it is usually not sustainable. It will only last until ‘ayuda’ (government aid) is available. KADIWA offers cheap food — bought by the DA (Department of Agriculture) at a high market price and sold at a subsidized price, but how long can they keep those subsidies?” Mr. Tolentino said.

United Broiler Raisers Association President Elias Jose M. Inciong cited potential problems with the logistics of selling seized goods.

“For smuggled products, it is better to give it away for free to vulnerable consumers based on a (trusted) database,” he said in a Viber message.

The DA’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service estimates a KADIWA network of 308 stores, pop-ups and KADIWA-on-wheels outlets nationwide.

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