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The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Wednesday said it will continue to tap small producers of agricultural products in its Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) to help the local community,  according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

"The Field Offices and other program implementers are encouraged to engage local farmers in the procurement of raw materials for feeding programs as stipulated in DSWD Administrative Order No. 4, Series of 2016 or the Amended Omnibus Guidelines in the Implementation of the Supplementary Feeding Program," the DSWD said in a statement.

Based on the existing DSWD guidelines, its field offices should involve local farmer’s organizations composed of poor and smallholder farmers in the procurement of rice, viands, and non-rice based snacks, through Community Participation as a Negotiated Procurement Modality.

As stipulated in Administrative Order No. 4, at least 30 percent of the food requirements of Child Development Centers and Supervised Neighborhood Play areas must be bought from local producers.

The DSWD procures fresh milk from local dairy producers through the partnership with the National Dairy Authority and the Philippine Carabao Center. The milk feeding program last year covered some 52,013 beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, the Expanded Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP)-National Program Management Office is also coordinating with the Government Procurement and Policy Board for the enhancement of the Community Participation Procurement Manual.

This initiative aims to further expand the engagement of DSWD and local farmers in the SFP and will enable poor farmers and fisherfolk to meet the demands of the DSWD’s feeding program.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the DSWD also urged the program implementers to acquire food commodities of the program beneficiaries from members of EPAHP, pursuant to the Memorandum Circular No. 12, series of 2021 or the Guidelines in the implementation of the SFP during Community Quarantine and Other Similar Emergencies.

Following the revised implementing guidelines, the collaborating local government unit and EPAHP partners are advised to tap organized groups such as Sustainable Livelihood Program Associations and Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organization, local community cooperatives, or farmers or fisherfolk organizations to serve as service or product providers for their respective feeding programs.

Currently, the DSWD is in the 11th cycle of the SFP.

As of October 31, more than one million children or 56 percent of the total target for the cycle were provided with nutritious foods.

Likewise, for the current school year, the milk feeding program targets to serve over 100,000 children across the country.

The DSWD said it will open an opportunity for dairy farmers as the SFP is a guaranteed market for fresh milk.

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