The price of palay or unhusked rice in Negros Occidental has also dropped, Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said yesterday.
“We received reports from the field that the price of palay has continued to decrease. The harvest season is just starting. If there’s no intervention, it’s going to continue to plummet,” he said.
The average farm gate price of palay continued to decrease to P13 to P14 per kilo, from P18 to P20 per kilo, he said, adding that the reason for the downtrend was that the traders still have stocks from their imports, so they do not buy additional stocks yet.
He said the Rice Tariffication Law that allows the import of rice has affected some 100,000 farmers in the province, adding that the rice sector has yet to receive the annual P10 billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
He said the Department of Agriculture has looked into measures that will mitigate the effects of the downtrend of palay prices.
“One intervention the agency is looking at is the procurement of palay during calamities by local government units,” he said.
He added that Remelyn Recoter, DA Western Visayas regional director, is expected to meet with Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson today to present alternative measures to mitigate the impact of the situation.
Masculino said that Negros Occidental was among the top 10 rice-producing provinces in the country.
Meanwhile, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) called on all sectors, peasant organizations, and individuals concerned over the plight of Filipino farmers to make a strong stand against the Rice Tariffication Law as it causes extreme hardship for the rice farmers.
“We hold Senator Cynthia Villar and all those who supported and voted in favor of rice liberalization highly-accountable for the current worsening situation of farmers and the local agriculture," Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP, said.*
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