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LGUs partner with DA, NFA to buy palay, assuring farmers of reasonable prices

Author: DA Communications Group | 21 September 2021

Agriculture Secretary William Dar urges anew local government units (LGUs), particularly those in top rice-producing provinces, to help government buy palay (paddy rice) directly from farmers to prop up prices this main cropping season.

“It is that time of the year again, wherein we are counting on the continued support of LGUs, including multi-purpose farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs), as they have done since 2019, to help the Department of Agriculture through the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy from their farmer-constituents and thus stabilize prices in their respective areas,” said Secretary Dar.

“We hope to institutionalize our partnership with the LGUs and FCAs, as it offers a win-win situation for farmers, not only during harvest of rice, but also of corn and other crops, providing them assured market and reasonable for their produce,” said the DA chief, adding such partnership embodies the Duterte administration’s whole-of-nation approach, benefiting farmers and their families, and other rice industry players.

“We fully appreciate the support of LGUs, particularly of the country’s top rice-producing provinces, that augments NFA’s palay procurement fund of P7 billion yearly, enough to buy 300,000 metric tons (MT) at a maximum price of P19 per kilogram (kg),” said secretary Dar.

“In particular, we commend the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Isabela, the country’s top two rice producers, led by Governor Aurelio Umali and Rodolfo Albano III, for showing the way. They even top off the prevailing farmgate price by at least P1/kg more, which is indeed commendable,” added Secretary Dar.

For instance, Nueva Ecija has alloted a budget of P2 billion, part of its loan with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), to buy palay at P1 to P2 per kilo higher than the prevailing farmgate price, said DA Central Luzon (RFO3) director Cris Bautista. The P2-B fund covers palay procurement, hauling, drying, storage, milling and packaging. During the recent dry season, Nueva Ecija was able to use P1.2 billion for said activities, added Bautista.

In Pampanga, the provincial LGU buys dried palay from NFA, mills and includes the rice in their food packs for distribution to constituents, said Bautista.

In Isabela, Governor Albano said they provided a truck each to farmers’ cooperatives and barangays to haul and transport palay to a rice mill complex owned and operated by “Nagkakaisang Magsasaka ng Isabela” or NMI. The provincial LGU buys rice from NMI at P1 to P2 more than prevailing market price. This year, Albano said they alloted at least P20 million.

For his part, DA-RFO2 director Narciso Edillo said the NMI has alloted P9 million this harvest season, to benefit marginal rice farmers and allied cooperatives in  Isabela.

Farmgate price of fresh palay ranges from  P13 to P15 per kilo, while dry palay sells for P17 to P19/kg, said Edillo.

In Ilocos region, Pangasinan has alloted P400 million, while Ilocos Norte has set aside at least P35 million, to buy  palay from their respective farmers, said DA-RFO 1 Director Nestor Domenden.

In Western Visayas, Iloilo has alloted an initial fund of P100 M, and Aklan at P2 M  to P5 M, said DA-RFO 6 director Remy Recoter.

In Mindanao, the province of South Cotabato has alloted P20 million for its palay procurement initiative, according to DA-RFO 12 director Arlan Mangelem.

Further, the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) under its “Palay at Mais ng Lalawigan” credit program, has lent as of July 31, 2021, P3.8 billion to eight LGUs.

In addition, Secretary Dar said all LGUs have the legal authority, under the “Sagip Saka Act” or Republic Act 11321, to set aside funds to promote and support farmers and fisherfolk enterprise development through direct purchase of agricultural and fishery products from accredited cooperatives and enterprises.

“In all, we are heartened that LGUs, FCAs, and financial institutions are helping the Duterte administration in our continued and vigorous efforts to help our farmers and fishers increase their productivity and incomes,” said Secretary Dar.

Another favorable development is that the DA and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are now finalizing the guidelines on the rice procurement process for the government’s “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program” or 4Ps, wherein indigent families receive P600 in cash as rice allowance.

“Under the scheme, using the DSWD’s 4Ps fund, the NFA will buy palay and mill into rice which DSWD will distribute to 4Ps beneficiaries nationwide,” said Secretary Dar.

Last year, the DSWD has set aside P31  billion for the distribution of NFA rice to beneficiaries of 4Ps, instead of giving them directly the P600 rice allowance.

In all, the DA expects palay harvest for the second semester of 2021 to reach more than 11 million metric tons (MMT), barring strong typhoons in the remaining months, that would bring the projected total annual production to more than 20 MMT, topping last year’s record yield of 19.4 MMT. ### (DA StratComms)

 

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