FROM P27 TO P7 PER KILO
LINGAYEN– Rice farmers are beginning to feel dejected as they rile over the unprecedented drop in palay (rice grain) price because of the Rice Tariffication Law.
Ernesto Pamuceno, president of the Pangasinan Irrigators Association Federation, said farmers already stand to lose from the current low rate and no relief is in sight due to the continuing decrease in buying price for palay.
He said the regular traders have shifted to buying cheaper imported rice made possible by the Rice Tariffication Law,
“Dapat pinag-aralan nang mabuti ng gobyerno yung supply ng bigas sa atin, kasi mula nang dumami ang bilang ng imported rice, napabayaan na kami”, he said.
Provision in the Rice Tariffication Law allows private traders or companies to import rice without being subjected to regulation to stabilize prices.
It is estimated that imported rice from direct suppliers’ overseas costs PHP19 per kilo, which could be sold for PHP 30 if tariff has been put in place.
Pamuceno said that traders prefer buying clean rice because they no longer need to dry the palay.
“Mas nakakatipid sila doon kasi kapag local na bigas ang kukunin nila, gagastos pa sila sa pagpapatuyo. Samantalang sa imported, bili na lang”, he said.
Pamuceno added farmers having a hard time selling palay to National Food Authority (NFA), because they are not able to dry their palay owing to continuous rains brought about by the Southwest Monsoon.
He said it’s bad enough that traders do not buy our dried palay, they also don’t buy hybrid rice that costs less to produce.
With the current situation with no intervention in sight, Pamuceno fears that in the near future, nobody would be interested to engage in agriculture anymore because of the high risks involved.
He added that the situation is aggravated by the conversion of many farmlands being tilled to subdivision and commercial development.
As of this writing, palay costs PHP 7 per kilo. (Ahikam Pasion)
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