Thu. Nov 21st, 2019

Palaweño farmers cry for help due to plummeting palay farmgate price

Palawaneño farmers who are lamenting the declining farmgate prices being offered by private traders have joined the call for the government to set a floor price for unhusked rice (palay) and for Congress to review Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tarrification Law.

File photo courtesy of E. Sumagaysay

Palawaneño farmers who are lamenting the declining farmgate prices being offered by private traders have joined the call for the government to set a floor price for unhusked rice (palay) and for Congress to review Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tarrification Law.

Rizal municipality Campong Ulay Farmers Association (CUFA) president Nicasio Noynoyan said the P12 to P10 offer per kilo of palay which is much lower than their production costs will cause the death of their livelihood.

“Napakalaking epekto talaga ng mga nangyayari sa aming mga magsasaka kaya minsan makakapag-isip ka nga na mag-divert sa iba    ng mapagkakakitaan,” he said.

Noynoyan said that private traders in Sicud are buying their palay at P12 per kilo, while in Punta Baja and Iraan, it is P10 and could still go lower during the peak season of harvest.

Rizal town, he added, has produced the largest palay production for the National Food Authority (NFA) since four years ago and what is happening now is a burden to all of them.

“Sa totoo lang, napakalaking dagok sa mga magsasaka ng ganitong batas. Mabuti sana kung katulad sa Thailand o Vietnam na ‘yong mga kailangan ng farmers ay naibibigay ng gobyerno. Okay lang na mababa kasi wala naman kaming puhunan, pero ang problema nga ang puhunan namay ay galing sa pautang at babayaran pa ‘yon,” he said.

Noynoyan said they appreciate the NFA for helping them by buying their palay harvests at P20.70 with the inclusion of the P3 buffer stocking incentive (BSI), but the rice agency does not have enough drying machines.

He said this limitation in the NFA’s drying capacity in Narra and Brooke’s Point is making it hard for it to buy more.

“Dahil sa rice tarrification law, ‘yong trader ay hindi na sila maghahangad na bumili pa ng palay kasi marami pang proseso samantalang kung mag-i-import sila, automatic na. Kapag bumili sila sa ibang bansa, alam na nila kung ilan ang tutubuin nila,” he said.

Noynoyan said private traders are declining to purchase their palay for the reason that they have more imported rice stored in their warehouses.

He also expressed fears that their slots for selling palay to the NFA might go to the private traders.

“Ayaw nila mamili nang mamili dahil puno raw ang bodega nila at saka marami silang imported rice. ‘Yon ang sinasabi nila laya mababa ang kanilang bili. Ang pinangangambahan nga ng mga farmer ay itong mga traders ay mamili nang mamili ng palay dahil mataas ‘yong buying price ng NFA, papatuyuin nila dahil syempre may mga drying facility sila tapos ay ibebenta naman nila sa NFA,” he said.

Seed incentives and the loan offered through Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) can be helpful to farmers at zero interest, however, with the kind of market, it will still be hard for them to sell palay and pay their loans.

In other countries, he said government officials look up to farmers as they help in food security, but in the Philippines, they always find themselves begging the government.

Noynoyan said they always feel like they are being pushed to the very ground that they are tilling and farming.

“Sa ibang bansa mataas ang pagtingin sa mga magsasaka. Sa Pilipinas parang idinidiin pa, kumbaga kami na nga nagpapakain sa halos lahat ng mamamayan, sa amin nanggagaling ang pagkain pero kami pa ang hindi pinapansin ng gobyerno. May tulong man pero hindi sapat. Hindi sa amin makabubuhay,” he said.

“Napakabigat din ng tungkulin namin sa mga mamamayan para di tayo ma-short sa pagkain. Kami gustong-gusto rin namin lumaki ang kita namin, ang problema dito sa kalakaran na ito ay halos hingiin ang produkto. ‘Yon ang mabigat talaga sa amin,” Noynoyan added.

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