The Philippine government is set to deploy rolling stores that sell meat, poultry, fish, rice, and vegetables to communities in a bid to "eliminate middlemen" and reduce padded prices of basic commodities, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.
"The Rolling Stores will only carry products from small farmers like pork, beef and chicken produced by backyard raisers, rice directly coming from rice farmers cooperatives and the fish catch of small fishermen," Piñol said in a statement.
The mobile store will be equipped with freezers while food items will be placed in vacuum-packed plastic containers to ensure food safety, the agriculture chief said.
Commodities from the rolling stores will be bought via "pre-orders so that the trucks will not just be running around the big cities peddling the goods," he added.
It is not the first time that the agriculture chief has spoken out against the merchants and traders who allegedly control the food supply chain in the country.
In a Facebook post titled "Farmers, Traders, Buyers and the Insatiable Greed", Piñol noted that it is the trader "who determines how much the price of farmers produce is and it is still the trader who dictates the cost of the food in the market."
"In the real world, farmers are poor and the consumers are sad as they stretch their budget for food but the traders rake in the money, ride in luxury vehicles and lead lavish lifestyle," he said in his FB post.
Piñol said the Department of Agriculture will help support farmers and fishermen to ensure that their cost of production is lower and their yield or catch is increased.