14 December 2020 via Facebook Live

Ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat!

Welcome everyone to the launch of today’s DELIVER-e, a collaborative project of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), and the United States Agency for International Development (or USAID).

This initiative is about bringing farm produce closer to the buying public and cutting through layers of traders. This has long been a personal dream of mine, and I’m sure many of you out there. The DELIVER-e will be a game-changer not only for our farmers and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (or MSMEs), but also for our consumers. This support is essential in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has adversely affected our manufacturing and agriculture sector.

During the community quarantine lockdown, many of our farmers and MSMEs had incurred major losses due to checkpoints, suspension of public transport, and other logistical restrictions. These impediments resulted in the loss of income and food wastages, especially affecting many farmers and MSMEs in agri-producing provinces such as Benguet, Tarlac, and Antique.

Demand likewise had plummeted as agri-processing plants, manufacturers, restaurants, and other institutional buyers of agricultural products closed, especially during the early days of the quarantine. Overall, we estimate our country’s economic loss due to the pandemic to be around Php2.2T.

With DTI chairing the Sub Task Group on Food Value Chain and Logistics (STGFVCL) of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), we worked to address some of the logistical challenges brought about by the pandemic.

This is where the DELIVER-e project comes in. DTI and DA worked with USAID to set up DELIVER-e, an inclusive, transparent, and integrated end-to-end e-commerce platform for agricultural and food products. The main goal of this project is to increase our country’s food production and ensure supply stability for basic necessities and prime commodities through new business models. More importantly, it will support MSMEs, farmers, and farmers’ cooperatives by helping them to sell their products directly to consumers. In the Logistics Sub Task group—and we’ve been presenting this to Secretary Dar—it is really one of our visions to put in e-commerce, in the online platform, the delivery of agri products to our consumers with the help of technology.

Initially, the DELIVER-e platform—which was developed by our private sector partner, Insight SCS—was designed to increase the income of farmers in CAR, Region 2, Region 3, and Region 5. We aim to expand the scope of this digital platform, and frankly, we would like to institutionalize, taking off from this project and adopting this project in the government setting while still working with the private sector. This would which would cut out the inefficiencies of a traditional value chain by connecting farmers to buyers. This, in turn, would double the income of farmers even as it lowers the prices of fresh produce.

At the proof-of-concept stage, the platform was able to sell 260 metric tons of vegetables and fruits and I’m sure this number continues to grow. It has recorded so far, more than Php7.15M worth of transactions, and again, this number has grown. Just recently, the platform sold four tons of oranges and watermelon produced by farmers in Region 2. 

Aside from expanding DELIVER-e, we also plan to onboard the beneficiaries of our One Town, One Product (or OTOP) Next Gen and Go Lokal! programs into the platform, as well as the agri-processors in DA’s E- KADIWA program, together with DTIs Diskwento Caravan, which we also work on together with our brothers in the DA.

Speaking of DA, we are aiming to align the DELIVER-e program to the Agribusiness Support for Promotion and Investment in Regional Exposition (or ASPIRE) Program. This is another collaborative project of DTI and DA, as well as the Philippine Chamber of Commerce (PCCI), to intensify agribusiness support for our farmers and fisherfolk and in the agri sector, it is headed by our friend Bobby Amores. To this end, DTI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with DA and PCCI last year to ensure stronger collaboration between the government and the private sector in implementing ASPIRE.

With these two programs, we hope to create more businesses and jobs for rural communities by linking farmers directly to the market. The synergy and convergence between DELIVER-e and ASPIRE will provide an effective backward linkage of the market and connect processors to the suppliers as a means to address gaps in the value chain. This, in turn, will unlock the potential of both agriculture and industry sectors.

The collaboration in these two programs is also indicative of DTI’s strong partnership with DA, under the able leadership of Secretary William Dar. Together, we are committed to jointly work on solutions to increase farmers’ income, provide a better supply chain in agriculture and its link to industry processors or directly to the marketplace, and deliver fresh products for consumers. This also signals the whole-of-government approach being implemented by the Duterte Administration for a more focused response to those who need our help during the pandemic and beyond. 

As the year 2020 ends, we call on everyone to work with us in a whole-of-nation approach to build back better towards a modern, dynamic, and responsible Philippines. That’s why we laud the following ceremonial commitment pledge from multisectoral stakeholders that will solidify greater collaboration and cooperation efforts with the DELIVER-e project.

Instead of adjusting to the “New Normal,” let us create a “Better Normal” where all Filipinos can enjoy the fruits of our country’s inclusive growth and shared prosperity for all in a post-COVID future. By working together, let us give our people a better and more comfortable quality of life as promised by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat.

Date of Release: 14 December 2020