Capitol sets P500-M for palay procurement starting this year
THE provincial government will begin buying palay from local farmers at the start of the rice harvest season this year, according to Governor Amado Espino III.
At the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the Department of Agriculture and the Pangasinan provincial government for the rehabilitation of the Rice Processing Complex in Sta. Barbara town and its turnover soon to the province, Espino said he will ask the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to pass an ordinance allowing the province to buy palay from local farmers.
He said the provincial government has availed of a loan facility of P500 million from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), at least P400 million of which will be used to procure palay from farmers during and after the harvest season while the P100 million will be used in building palay warehouses in Mabini and San Quintin.
The purchased palay will be brought to the Rice Processing Complex at the Provincial Nursery in Sta. Barbara and the rice will be passed on to an accredited partner of the provincial government that will sell the commodity at no mark-up cost.
“I will assure you that we will not make any profit from our palay buying operation,” Gov. Espino said, adding that the move will encourage farmers to stop transacting with middlemen who buy palay from them at exceptionally lower prices.
Noting that Pangasinan is one of the biggest rice producing provinces in the country, Agriculture Secretary William Dar challenged the provincial government last year to go into palay buying to assure farmers of better prices for their palay.
For the last two years, farmers all over the country were adversely affected by the low price of palay believed to be the effect of rice tariffication and the alleged price manipulation by private rice traders.
The Rice Processing Complex in Sta. Barbara was built about eight years ago by the Korean and Philippine governments with the Pangasinan provincial government providing the lot and some financial assistance for the facility.
At first, the DA allowed farmers’ cooperatives to run the facility but they did not succeed, leaving the facility without reporting that some of its facilities had bogged down.
Gov. Espino said the provincial government will form a team to set up policies on how to qualify farmers selling their palay to the provincial government and also to quantify their produce.
He said that with the RPC in the hands of the provincial government soon, all farmers in the province will benefit from it. (Leonardo Micua)
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