The provincial board is requesting all the rice traders and millers in the province of Palawan to buy the palay being produced by the farmers for not lower than P13 per kilo.
Board Member Ryan Maminta said that according to the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA), there are 36,477 rice farmers in Palawan and among them, 10,994 families are dependent on rice farming as their main source of income.
He said that data from the Philippine Statistics Office (PSA) showed, on the average, the farmers are selling palay just a little above production cost, making it difficult for the family of farmers to barely support their basic needs for the months before the next harvest season and to provide education to their children.
The production cost of palay in the Province of Palawan as studied and provided by the Office of Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) is at the rate of P13.00 to produce or harvest a kilo of palay.
Contrary to this, Provincial Farmers Association Council (PFAC) President Estrelita Quiampo-Galera said that private traders would give farmers a very low farm gate price of P 9 to 12.50 per kilo.
The National Food Authority (NFA) Council fixed the buying price for clean and dry palay at P 14 to 19 per kilogram, the palay are not required to be processed already with 14% and 30% moisture content.
Most of the rice or palay farmers in the province do not own the needed area and facilities for drying and processing their produce, thus, making it difficult for their palay to qualify to the standard set by the NFA and to be sold at a higher farm-gate rate to rice traders.
“Palay is considered a common commodity and a staple of Filipino food, hence we request, by virtue of this resolution, palay or rice traders and millers to purchase from Palawenos rice farmers their produce at a price not lower than the average production cost of P13 per kilogram to enable them to properly sustain their livelihood and earn more,” Maminta said in a resolution.
The removal of quantitative restrictions of imported rice due to the Rice Tarrification Law provides an additional burden to the farmers because of the flood of import grains resulting in the plunging prices of local rice and hurting the livelihood of these palsy farmers.
He added that farmers in the province continuously face the challenges of expensive and limited access and availability of hybrid seeds, recurring sod problems, the occurrence of pest disease, inadequate water supply, unpredictable weather conditions, monopoly of supply market-price, and low buying price for their produce.
Board Member Albert Rama also said that millers and traders should also grant the request of the provincial board for the benefit of the farmers, particularly during the pandemic.
“Sa ngayon ang presyo ng Palay ay nasa sampu hanggang 12 pesos nalang po. Sana tumaliwa ang mga rice millers and traiders sa pakiusap na ito sapagkat alam natin na ang nagdidikta ng presyo ay ang law of supply and demand ngunit baka sakaling tumalima sila,” Rama said.