THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is exploring subsidy-free options for sustaining the markets known as TienDA after the department’s budget for 2019 was cut.
Undersecretary for Agribusiness and Marketing Jose Gabriel M. La Viña told BusinessWorld that the department is still planning to establish or break ground on around 30 more TienDAs by the end of the year.
Of the 30 TienDAs, 20 serve military bases and the remaining 10 will serve the general public. The DA is also planning to establish TienDAs for fish.
“The problem with TienDA is that it’s subsidized so the people in the bureaucracy look at it as an expense. So when you have more of them, where will we get the money? That’s the question,” he added.
“It will have to be self-sustained. The farmer and the fisherfolk must want to go there even if they aren’t subsidized. Which means that they should be making much more money than when they were selling to the middleman,” Mr. La Viña said.
“The other possibility is working with the private sector with CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programs or transferring the budget where allowed by law. Those are the things we are working on.”
For the stores serving military bases, known as TienDA para sa mga Bayani, Mr. La Viña said the Armed Forces of the Philippines “suggested that we include into the mix the rebel returnees — for them to be trained to sell their goods at the TienDA.” — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato