Upgrading existing food terminals with e-commerce capability and an intensified campaign against smugglers and hoarders were among the highlights of the new three-year food logistics action agenda, which was approved by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday.
Under the comprehensive plan of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the government will provide information and communication technology in food terminals and build additional food hubs nationwide.
The integrated food terminals will streamline the supply chain between producers and consumers “with standardized logistical processes and transportation systems” and help maintain “the balance between demand and supply.”
The logistics action agenda has been developed by DTI in collaboration with the Departments of Agriculture, Transportation, Public Works and Highways, Information and Communication and other partners.
It is in compliance with the President’s vision to make the Philippines a logistics hub in Asia.
DTI Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said they partnered with the US Agency for International Development-Strengthening Private Enterprises for the Digital Economy (USAID-SPEED) to pilot the program at the Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal (NVAT).
“This project will help pivot NVAT from offline to online transactions thereby maximizing the potential of e-commerce, and increasing market access for farmers’ produce,” Pascual explained.
Aside from the online system, DTI said it will “revolutionize” the logistics in the food terminals by investing in their transportation and storage facilities.
The plan also includes an intensified drive against hoarding, smuggling, overstaying food imports, and the monitoring of warehouses or cold storage facilities.
To complement the plan, DTI also proposed the passage of the International Maritime Competitiveness Act, “which aims to empower the Maritime Industry Authority to regulate shipping lines and guard against excessive shipping charges.”
Once implemented, the plan is expected to help “ensure the availability, accessibility, and affordability of food for Filipinos, and that consumers reliably get the right product at the right time.”