To help farmers, especially in the aftermath of three strong typhoons that struck major rice-producing provinces in the country, the Department of Agriculture (DA) urges local government units (LGUs) to heighten support for the rice growers.

“We believe LGU executives are in the best position to assess the needs of our rice farmers,” DA Sec. William D. Dar said in a statement delivered by his representative Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan in a webinar aired on DA- Philippine Rice Research Institute’s (PhilRice) social media page, Nov. 25.

He said that LGUs are the first line of marketing support for farmers.

“Our aim is to have more LGUs participate in the palay buying operations to stabilize palay price,” he added.

The drop in palay farmgate price owing to various factors besetting the rice sector has prompted DA and some LGUs to intensify their existing efforts for the local farmers.

DA shared that KADIWA ni Ani at Kita, a marketing platform launched in 2019 that directly links farmers and fisherfolk to consumers, is a useful tool for the LGUs in buying and selling farmers’ produce.

“For the program to be sustainable, we need to capacitate farmers to become more reliable suppliers, and DA has proposed a program for this,” Joyce Bengo of DA said.

She shared that DA also proposed a program that will provide financial grants for the procurement of recirculating rice dryer equipment.

According to her, this program will help command higher farmgate prices of palay to NFA buying stations and other buyers.

Meanwhile, Atty. Ferdinand Abesamis, the representative of Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali, shared Nueva Ecija provincial government’s Palay Price Support Program (PPSP), an initiative that aims to stabilize palay price by buying the produce of farmers in their province.

“PPSP is intended to complement the efforts of DA, and it has been relatively successful in stabilizing palay farmgate prices as traders were forced to compete with the government’s buying price. When we started palay buying, the price went up to P13-P15 from P9. This month, many private traders started buying palay for up to P15/kg,” he said.

Marinduque Governor Presbitero Velasco Jr., national president of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP), lauded the efforts of Nueva Ecija provincial government and committed to share Umali’s presentation with other governors.

“This is what our farmers need now – strong support from the national government and, more importantly, full support from the LGUs because they are on the ground and can see [firsthand] their province’s situation on rice production,” he said.

The webinar is part of the series of activities led by DA-PhilRice in celebration of National Rice Awareness Month.

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