THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

More provinces commit to direct palay purchases, marketing

Author: DA Communications Group | 21 October 2019

More local government units have committed their support to embattled rice farmers as average farmgate price of palay (unhusked rice) slid further to a new eight-year low.

In a statement, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that some 23 provincial local government units (PLGUs) have committed a total of P4.95 billion for processing and marketing palay directly bought from farmers to help them cope with the continued drop in farmgate prices.

Initially, some 13 PLGUs of the country’s top rice-producing provinces – including Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Cagayan, and Bataan – committed funding for the palay procurement and assistance program.

The PLGUs of Kalinga, Mountain Province, Marinduque, Iloilo, Capiz, Bohol, Biliran, Zamboanga Sibugay, Sarangani and Agusan del Norte followed suit following the rice task force meeting on October 15, 2019.

“Our efforts to partner with our provincial governors is now coming into fruition as we jointly help prop-up palay prices. Through this, we hope to provide sure market for the produce of our rice farmers at a fairly competitive price at least for this season in these provinces,” Dar said.

Dar said that most of the PLGUs are already in the preliminary process – including the conduct of committee meetings and crafting of Sangguniang Panlalawigan resolutions that would authorize them to avail of a loan facility from Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).

Under the Palay sa Lalawigan Program, LBP would provide easy access loans to interested local government units to bankroll their direct engagement in the rice industry value chain.

“We are closely working with Land Bank to provide loan schemes that are easily accessible with minimal or no interest to our farmers affected by low farmgate prices. We are trimming down the requirements to attract more farmers in availing these loans,” Dar said.

Further updates on the loan facility, which is seen to help curb further drop in prices of palay, will be presented by LBP, Dar added.

Dar encourages other provinces with budget limitations to avail of loans from LBP for drying facilities and access National Food Authority warehouses for storage of palay, and make these available for farmers’ use.

Average price palay have started to steadily decline at the onset of the rice tariffication in March. The influx of imported rice months after its full implementation further depressed the buying price of local palay to levels way below the cost production.

As of end-September, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said that the average farmgate price of palay dropped further to P15.82/kg or 0.9 percent during the week, compared to P15.96/kg a week ago. The average price was also lower by 29.3 percent compared to the P22.36/kg a year ago. ###

 

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Reference:

Noel O. Reyes

Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary for Communications and Media Affairs

(0920) 4889686

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