Farmers from different regions of the country were happy with the increase in the buying price of the National Food Authority at the farmgate of P16 to P19 per kilogram for fresh palay and P19 to P23 for dry palay.
The new buying prices of NFA were ordered by President Ferdinand Marcos, concurrent Agriculture Secretary, on Monday to ensure that farmers, who are currently harvesting their wet season crop, would not suffer from abruptly declining prices for their fresh harvest beginning this month.
They said that traders usually use the NFA as their benchmark in setting their buying prices from farmers for the fresh palay. With the mandated price hike for NFA such drastic price declines would not materialize.
P24/k in Central Luzon
Most areas of Central Luzon and portions in MIndanao and the Visayas are now harvesting their palay– although many farms have suffered significant losses from the continuous downpour and torrential winds of July and August. For those that harvested early, they were able to sell their fresh palay for as high as P24 per kg.
One such farmer is Feliciano Jaojao of Punta, Dipolog City, an officer of the Dipolog Polanco Irrigators Association, who planted early and sold his fresh palay harvest to IA in early September for P24/kg.
He said only 25 percent of their irrigation association members, who till over 1,000 hectares of irrigated areas and 1,000 hectares of rainfed areas, have harvested their palay with the peak expected by end of September.
In his three hectare farm, he was able to reap 200 bags (of 60 kilos) per hectare from hybrid or about 12 tons while his inbred farm produced 70 to 100 bags per hectare.
Another farmer, Gabriel Cale of Surigao Sur, 64, also harvested early and sold his fresh palay at P23 per kg farmgate. “Wala pang price cap sa bigas noon,” he stressed.
“Now the price of 160 (brand of palay seed) is selling for P20 a kilo and this premium rice is being sold in the market for P50 per kilo. The current farmgate price is P18 to P19 for inbred and P18/kg for hybrid,” he reported.
Simplify Pay Process
Both farmers, however, appealed to the NFA to reduce its required moisture content for selling dry palay to it and to buy more aggressively fresh palay to ensure that farmers would enjoy fair prices for their produce. They also suggested that NFA simplify the processing of payments and to pay in cash (not checks) so that they would not keep going back and forth to the NFA warehouses.
NFA Acting Assistant Region 11 Manager Floreena Loraina told the farmers attending the 16th National Rice Technology Forum in Digos, Davao del Sur, that the guidelines to implement the new NFA buying prices would be issued next week.
She explained that with the Rice Tariffication Law, the NFA is only allowed to buy palay and rice to build our buffer stocks for up to 15 days only for emergency purposes like relief for calamity victims.
“We also have only three trucks so we can’t service all the farmers. We already pay in cash for up to 200 bags of 50 kilograms,” she said.
They agreed that the imposition last September 5 of the price cap for regular milled rice at P41 per kg for regular milled and P45 for well-milled coincidentally led to less imported rice being sold in their markets, which is good for local farmers.
Rice Tech Forum
Along with thousands of farmers all over the country, they participated in the National Rice Technology Forum held in Hagonoy, Davao del Sur, which showcased different hybrid and inbred rice technologies along with various soil nutrients, including biofertilizers and organic fertilizers.
They visited 18 different demo farms of at least one hectare which showcased the different yield potentials and other benefits of such technologies.
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