The Department of Agriculture (DA) plans using a locally built boat to deliver fresh farm produce to various areas in the country.

The plan aims to help directly bring farmers’ produce to more markets, so consumers can access more fresh food products at lower cost.

“We should move food to all communities, where ordinary people live,” DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.

Piñol said the plan came up, as food in the country reaches only a limited market, given the cost of transporting the products, among other factors.

“Our problem isn’t availability but the positioning of food,” he said. “Middlemen’s inclusion in the supply chain is also making food expensive, since their fees are factored into prices.”

He said helping farmers directly market their produce would enable people to access lower-priced food and help the farmers at the same time.

Earlier, Piñol said he had presented to Malacañang his proposal to have fresh produce delivered by boat wherever possible.

The boat, he said, would have refrigeration facilities to ensure freshness of the produce it would carry.

Piñol considers delivering produce by boat a viable strategy, saying the Philippines is an archipelago.

“We’re an archipelago of about 7,500 islands, so the means of transporting commodities is naturally by boat,” he said.

Piñol wants DA’s food boat to be locally made, noting Filipinos are capable of building this vessel.

Filipinos were already building boats long before Spain conquered the Philippines, he said.

Two multi-mission offshore vessels (MMOVs) of DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources were built in the country, he added.

The vessels, named MMOV Lapu-lapu and MMOV Francisco Dagohoy, were made to help the government stop illegal fishing and poaching by foreign vessels in Philippine waters, Piñol said. (PNA)