By Antonio Manaytay
To stabilize the prices, the national officials told the public to buy locally-produced rice. This amid the downward spiral of the buying price of palay or unhusked rice dipping to as low as P7 per kilo.
In Zamboanga Sibugay, the buying price of palay is from P8 to P10 per kilo. In other places, the price ranges from P7 to P10. The ongoing buying prices are way below the production cost of rice at P12 per kilo.
Buy local rice to help farmers
Sen. Francis Pangilinan has urged the public to buy locally-produced rice to help the rice farmers.
“One way for us to help our farmers is to support them and buy their rice,” Pangilinan said.
He urged the public to “ask your preferred store for local rice” as the market is flooded with imported rice.
Many rice farmers had already stopped cultivating their rice fields for fear of incurring deficits, he said.
Imported rice had flooded the market after the passage of Republic Act 11203, also known as the Rice Tarrification Law.
The law, which lifted the quantitative restrictions (QR) on rice imports, was passed into law in February.
Sell rice to LGUs
Sen. Cynthia Villar, whose business interests allegedly include rice importation, praised the passage of the law.
She said the law is a “very important piece of legislation that will protect our farmers” and help improve profitability and competitiveness.
RA 11203 has set aside P10-billion as Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund. The fund will provide support to farm mechanization, training, and providing inbred seeds to rice farmers.
During the recent Senate committee hearing, however, Villar urged the National Food Authority (NFA) to sell rice at a reasonable price to the local government units.
Some LGUs wanted to buy rice from the NFA in order to sell it to their constituents. But the NFA sells the grain at nearly P40 per kilo. (Antonio Manaytay-Mindanao Sun)