Beleaguered farmers in Palawan are appealing to the government not to remove the P3 per kilogram incentive for palay amid recent reports that the National Food Authority Council (NFAC) might scrap it.
Nicasio Noynoyan, president of the Campong Ulay Farmers Association (CUFA) in Rizal town, said scrapping the buffer stocking incentive (BSI) would return the buying price of the state-run grains agency to P17.70 from P20.70 and would drive them to uncertainty.
“Sa ganoong presyo na P20.70 ay hirap na kami, babawasan pa nila. Alam naman natin na hindi naka-batas ‘yong P3, tinatawag pa rin nila na incentive ‘yon. Sa napag-usapan namin, sana huwag naman nila alisin ‘yon. Kumbaga, hiningi rin namin ‘yon sa gobyerno,” he said.
Noynoyan, also the vice president of the Provincial Farmers Action Council (PFAC) in the province, said they were among those who requested the BSI to the NFAC in 2018.
Sen. Cynthia Villar, who is chairman of the committee on agriculture and food, said it is now time to remove the BSI given by the NFAC as an inclusion to the buying price.
The NFA in the province initially said in a report that the removal might affect their procurement operation in Palawan.
Noynoyan said that as the palay buying price of private traders falls to P10 in Rizal, farmers consider the P20.70 as an option.
However, the removal of the P3 BSI might affect them, he said.
“Kailan lang ‘yon itinaas at inaprubahan ng council tapos ngayon, kukunin naman nila, ano na lang mangyayari kung P17? Kung ibibigay nila lahat ng pangangailangan, sinasabi naman sa batas,” he said.
He said they will accept the removal of BSI only if the government will provide the support in seeds, fertilizers, and farmers’ loan that are included in Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law.
They also need assurance that farmers will have a sure market for their palay production.
“Sa amin okay pa rin kung ganoon pa rin ang presyo na P17, basta libre ‘yong binhi at abono plus yong makinarya na ‘yan at pautang ng bangko basta may tiyak na buyer kasi hindi na rin kami mahihirapan kasi libre na ang lahat daw kasama ‘yon sa tariffication law,” he said.
“Sana ‘yong iniisip nila na ibaba ‘yong P3 na ‘yon, sana pag-isipan naman nila rin na makadagdag pa sana yon para sa kita namin kung bilhin nila yong ani ng magsasaka dito sa Palawan,” he added.