^
Farmers seek help as prices continue to slide
Farmer groups and food security advocates under the National Movement for Food Sovereignty are alarmed over the low farmgate prices of palay (unhusked rice) and the lack of response from the government as harvest season peaks.
STAR/File

Farmers seek help as prices continue to slide

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - October 19, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Local farmers continue to appeal to the government for immediate help as farmgate prices remain on a downward trend and is likely to slide further.

Farmer groups and food security advocates under the National Movement for Food Sovereignty (NMFS) are alarmed over the low farmgate prices of palay (unhusked rice) and the lack of response from the government as harvest season peaks.

NMFS convenor Trinidad Domingo emphasized that rice farmers are barely earning and most are even incurring losses.

For one, palay is being sold for prices as low as P10 to P14 per kilogram around Talavera, Zaragosa and Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija, the country’s top rice-producing province.

Prices have averaged at P12 per kilo. The cost of producing a kilo of palay in the country is at P12.72.

“Palay prices might even be lower in the following weeks,” Domingo said.

NMFS reiterated the need for the National Food Authority (NFA) to intensify its palay buying amid its higher buying price of P19 per kilo at 14 percent moisture content.

However, under the Rice Tariffication Law, the NFA is only limited to buffer stocking with a measly P7 billion budget, which can barely cover five percent of the total harvest.

Manuel Rosario, another NMFS convenor, urged the government to take immediate action to help farmers recover from their losses during the cropping season.

“The government should take urgent measures to give assistance to farmers, like the provision of cash subsidy of at least P10,000,” Rosario said.

“In the near future, the NFA’s palay procurement budget must be increased, as well as their buffer-stocking capacity, to accommodate more farmers,” he said.

The network of farmers also called for the increase in palay support price to up to P22 per kilo.

Since the passage of the RTL last year, cheap imported rice flooded the market, putting locally produced rice in tight competition.

The NMFS is asking the government to review the RTL and halt its implementation, especially during the harvest season.

“The condition of our rice farmers – who are already stricken by poverty, was only worsened with the passage of the RTL. Even the utilization of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund which was supposed to help us be more competitive, is disappointing; not all farmers benefit,” NMFS said.

FARMERS
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with