THE departments of agriculture (DA), transportation (DOTr), and energy (DOE) are joining forces to provide farming and fishing communities access to refrigerated container vans or reefer vans that will benefit both producers and consumers.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi signed on March 12, 2021 a tripartite agreement to strengthen and expand the implementation of the existing “Palamigan ng Bayan” program for the agri-fishery sector in strategic areas nationwide.
The “Palamigan ng Bayan” program was previously led by the DOTr in 2018, deploying a dozen reefer vans in selected sites that served as cold storage facilities of farmers and fishers to preserve the quality of perishable goods, reduce wastage and fetch reasonable prices.
This time the DOTr is partnering with the DA and DOE not only to strengthen the “Palamigan ng Bayan” program, but also to expand and sustain it to cover more areas and thus benefit more farmers and fishers nationwide.
Dar said the program will be a big boost to the agriculture sector because it will help reduce farm and fishery post-harvest losses, which currently range from 15 to 30 percent.
Under their memorandum of agreement (MOA), the three agencies will promote the use of refrigerated container vans as cold storage facilities to store fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, meat products, and other perishable goods to address concerns on food quality and safety.
They also committed to ensure the steady and affordable supply of farm and fishery products in support of the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant program and food security agenda, provide technical and other support services to farmers and fisherfolk, and promote continuing technology innovation.
Under the MOA, the DA will identify priority areas where the reefer vans from DOTr will be established in partnership with qualified farmers’ and fishers’ groups.
The DOE, on the other hand, will provide assistance in ensuring the needed energy access for the efficient and uninterrupted operation of the reefer vans. (PR)