Agriculture secretary Emmanuel Piñol has turned down an appeal by a farmers’ group from Narra to increase the National Food Authority’s buying price of palay.
Piñol held a dialogue with some 500 farmers in Narra on Thursday and was accompanied by provincial officials during his visit.
Several farmers during the dialogue asked the government to increase its buying price to P22 per kilo from the current P17 per kilo. They said the adjustment will make government’s buying price closer to the prices of commercial buyers.
“Magmamahal ang presyo ng commercial nyan. Hindi natin pwedeng magawa yan,” Piñol said.
“Pwede pa siguro nating maitaas yan, hanggang P18 pero hindi P22. Masyado nang mataas ang P22,” he said.
He added however that the national government have been helping the farmers by making credit available to them and facilitating modern agricultural technologies.
“Para mag-increase ang production, ang kailangan ng magsasaka ay ang pautang, modernong teknolohiya at magandang binhi,” he said.
Based on the average yield of palay in Narra which is 4.8 tons per hectare, Piñol said that a farmer can earn up to P 96 thousand per hectare, but it could increase to P 150 thousand or more by the use of right variety of rice seeds and other farming technology.
He likewise offered to farmers the loan facility of DA known as Production Loan Easy Access (FLEA) program which they can use for buying inputs, fertilizers, insecticides, weedicides, and even farm equipments to modernize farming and reduce production cost.
He said that increasing the buying price of palay is not a solution but rather to increase the farmers’ yield which could double the palay production.
“Sa Nueva Ecija nga lampas pa sila ng 10 metric ton per hectare, e maski bibilhin pa sa kanya ng P15 per kilo lang ang kanyang palay, e malaki na rin. We will help you increase the production instead of increasing the buying price. Piliin nyo ang binhi na naaangkop sa inyo,” he told farmers.
He bared his plan to install CCTV in all warehouses of in the country. This is in order to erase doubts and suspicions of the people.
“Ito ay para maging transparent tayo, palalagyan natin ng CCTV ang mga warehouses, para masisiguro nating walang negosyante dyan na kukuha ng bulto”, he further said.