The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) economists is encouraging farmers to ensure the proper drying of their palay harvests in order to fetch a better farmgate price for their produce.

Alice Briones-Mataia of PhilRice Socioeconomics Division explained that farmers will earn an average of P1.50 per kilogram depending on quality when they sell dry palay.

In a press statement, she said palay price is largely dictated by factors, such as quality (level of moisture content and variety), seasonality, supply disturbances, and import volumes.

“There is a difference between the prices of dry and fresh palay. A farmer may earn an additional income of P7,472 for a 5t/ha when he sells dry,” Briones-Mataia said.

“If fresh (25% MC), the produce for a 5t/ha would be bought at P59,250.00, while for dry (14% MC), it may be up to P66,722.40,” she added.

Dry palay has a lower moisture content (MC) than fresh palay. It has the standard MC level for milling, which is 14% MC. Normally, miller-traders prefer dry palay with 13-14% MC for a longer storage period.

“Quality of palay commands a relatively higher price in the market,” Briones-Mataia said.

To achieve such MC level, farmers have the option to use a solar or mechanical dryer.

“While income is relatively higher, farmers are constrained in selling dry palay. Fresh palay is highly perishable and there’s a limited number of drying facilities in most parts of the country,” she stressed.
Farmers are also encouraged to plant premium varieties that also command higher market prices, which include NSIC Rc 218, Rc 160, and Rc 216.

“Traders prefer buying premium variety rice that consumers prefer. Farmers should consider planting premium varieties that traders like to get. These varieties fetch higher prices by P0.50/kg – P2.00/kg relatively to other varieties because of its good aroma and better eating qualities,” Mataia explained.

The Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) program, which provides free rice seeds to farmers as mandated by the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) provides premium varieties.