Iloilo City to roll out ‘market on wheels’

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

The city government is planning to roll out its “market on wheels” to intensify social distancing measures amid the enhanced community quarantine in Iloilo City.

After receiving reports of several markets in the city failing to implement social distancing, Mayor Jerry Treñas said he is considering completely closing down public markets and shifting to mobile markets instead.

“If they continue to not comply with social distancing, we will be instituting measures and one of this is to close down the market and use big jeepneys to market the agricultural products,” he said on Thursday.

The mayor said the market on wheels will help in limiting the movement of people since the agricultural products will be sold directly to the city barangays.

“It will tour around the city barangays so that the residents need not go to the markets to buy products,” he said.

Treñas added that the city government is now finalizing a prototype for the market on wheels.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Western Visayas will also be launching a similar initiative to help farmers sell their agriculture products through “Kadiwa on Wheels”.

The “Kadiwa on Wheels” which will begin on March 31, 2020 will be bringing in agriculture products from Panay Island to Iloilo City.

Farmers associations and cooperatives who operate the DA- (Korean International Cooperation Agency) KOICA’s Bayanihan Tipon Centers (BTCs), and the Rice Processing Centers (RPCs) from the different provinces will man the mobile market in areas yet to be identified by the city’s Local Economic Development Office (LEEO).

“We continue the Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita program to help our small and marginal farmers earn in the midst of this crisis. In fact, we had already allowed some farmers associations to market their produce every Friday in our office in Jaro,” Maria Teresa Solis, chief of the DA Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division said in a statement.

The program has benefited a group of farmers in Lambunao who generated more than P20,000 sales from selling more or less 300 kilograms of lowland vegetables such as ampalaya, pechay, mustard, squash, and cow pea, among others.

“At the start, transportation of agricultural products from the province to the city was restricted due to the enhanced community quarantine. But with the food lane pass issued by DA, we can now deliver our products from Lambunao freely,” according to Ariel Lastica, chairman of the Champion Farmers Program of Lambunao, Iloilo.

On the other hand, the Kapisanan ng mga Mangunguma sa Patnongon (KAMAPAT) from Antique were able to earn P109,000 from marketing their agricultural products under the same program.

To ensure uninterrupted supply of food and agriculture products in the region, DA-6 has issued food pas and food lane to individual farmers and group to enable unhampered movement of cargoes, agriculture and fishery inputs, and other food products despite the strict quarantine protocols by the LGUs.

DA-6 said that it has issued 3,533 food pass and food lane pass in the entire region.