Farmers in Palawan will appeal the removal of the P.30 per kilogram Cooperative Development Incentive Fund (CDIF) by the National Food Authority Council (NFAC) on the buying price per kilo of palay.
Provincial Farmer Action Council (PFAC) president Estrelita Quiampo-Galera said Wednesday that the removal of the CDIF which is included in the Buffer Stocking Incentive (BSI) of the NFA is unfair since it is also the agency that convinced them to form cooperatives to become beneficiaries.
She said from P20.70, the NFA’s buying price for unhusked rice will return to P17 if the CDIF is also removed like the P3 BSI which is also being proposed to be taken away.
“Meron kaming binabalak na umapila na hindi kami papayag na basta-basta na lang ganyan kasi noon sila rin naman ‘yong mga nanghikayat ng mga farmer na mag-organize ng cooperative kasi doon sila tutulong so nahikayat ang mga farmer na mag-organize tapos ngayon sila ang gagawa ng ganyan at tatanggalin nila?” Galera said.
Galera said they will meet before the end of the month to discuss the actions they will take for their appeal to reach the national government.
She added they might directly send the appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte, hoping he will pay attention to their appeal because their lives are all hanging in the balance now.
“Kaming mga cooperative talaga mismo halos hindi na rin kami masyadong sinisipag na magpasok ng palay dahil inalis na nila ‘yong incentive na para sa amin. Siguro pabor ‘yan sa mga individual farmers talaga kaya lang hindi naman kasi nagpapasok ng husto ang mga individual farmer,” she said.
She said that most of the farmers chose to join cooperatives as these have coordinators that will process their production for selling to the NFA.
Galera said that the order for the removal of CDIF is a way of losing the chance for the cooperatives to be helped.
“Kaming mga coordinator, hindi na rin kami sinisipag dahil magpapagod kami, wala naman kami napapakinabangan. Tingin nga namin na ‘yong ginawang order ng mga ‘yan, parang inalisan na talaga ‘yong mga cooperative ng chance na matulungan pa,” she said.
She admitted that many farmers in the province still choose to sell their palay to the private traders instead of bringing them to the NFA due to strict classification of the agency.
Galera also said that because of the occurrence of rains, farmers are struggling to dry their palay due to lack of drying facilities.
“Kung kumpara sa trader, bayad agad, sila pa ang maghahakot kaya ang farmer kahit P13, magti-tiyaga na lang dyan kesa maabala pa sila. Kung mag-individual naman sila, may mga kailangan pa sila i-comply at may mga requirement pa yan. Malaking bagay sana na may cooperative ‘yong farmer para hindi na nila kailangan gawin ‘yon,” she said.
She said that even if the NFA offers a higher buying price, farmers will still choose to sell to private traders to save time in drying.
She said that the distributed drying machine facilities of DA to the farmers’ cooperatives in Palawan were not the good quality that dry the palay according to the moisture content required by the NFA.
“Hindi naman kasi ‘yon magandang klase na drying machine kasi flatbed ‘yan, di man maganda ang flatbed, hindi yan malinis. Usually ang mga palay na natuyo sa flatbed, pagdating sa NFA ay marami pa rin ‘yang ginagawa ng classifier kasi pangit ang tuyo ng flatbed kasi walang blower ‘yan,” she said.
She said that when farmers dry their palay to the traders, they will pay P50 per sack which is also a burden to them.
“Yong gusto rin ng farmers sana mabili ‘yong kanilang palay na PD3a at PD3b at sana hindi na mamili ng palay ang NFA. Sana lahat ng ma-produce ng farmers ay mabili. Ang daing talaga namin kay president (Rodrigo Duterte) ay maibalik yong PD3a at PD3b kasi bibilhin lahat para naman ang mga farmer ay hindi masyado masaktan syempre naghihirap yan magtanim,” she said.
Galera said that NFA is now buying palay that are classified PD1a and PD1b. She said that NFA explained to them that they are buying these classifications for the purpose of buffer stocking which is the new mandate of the agency under Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law.