Rice farmers call Dar to act on low market price

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DAVAO CITY — Rice farmers in North Cotabato are calling on Agriculture Secretary William Dar to listen to their cry over low price of palay in the market.

Last week a handful of rice farmers went out of their farm and staged a protest in the poblacion of M’lang to dramatize their plight, which according to them should be addressed by the government especially Agriculture Secretary Dar, whom they accused of turning his back on them in this trying times.

Rice farmers have been complaining about the rice importation at their expense, as government they said, imports volume to rice from Thailand or China offering low price because they produce. What they are selling to the country are the surplus for their consumers’ consumption while in the country; they said the government must help rice farmers by creating a good rice price for the farmers especially now that the health crisis has greatly affected their families.

M’lang North Cotabato farmers chided Dar over so much propaganda on government’s program “when truth and in fact, he is not doing anything to intervene in the low price of rice, he keeps on saying he has a heart for us, but where is his heart? Where is he now?”.

Carlos Enriquez, a rice farmer said the prevailing price of palay in North Cotabato is very low “Ang among palay paliton lag og tag P10 ang kilo samtang ang ginaling na nga naa sa palengke tag P40 hangtud P50 ang kilo, depende sa klase (The price is only P10 per kilo while well-milled rice are sold at P40 to P50 per kilo depending on the variety.).

Enriquez said they envy the Davao del Norte rice farmers because the provincial government has provided a support mechanism for the farmers to sell their produce in a decent price by providing support facilities like solar driers, and their produce are collected from their farms to the driers up to the warehouse of the National Food Authority where palay price are bought at P16 per kilo.

In Davao de Oro official Facebook Page, a certain Sherwin Buenavista Diano commented in a post i Agri de Oro saying “Calling the attention of all noisy promising candidates during election that are elected and sitting on that wonderful chair of yours now, Palay price P12.50, magandang klase pa yan pero nasa 10.00 to 11.00 lang today ang rumble. Nasaan ang hustisya jan”.

She added “Hindi ninyo alam ang hirap ng mga magsasaka simula palang sa pagtatanim hanggang sa pag aani nito!! Kung makikita nyo lang sana kalagayan nila,magkanda kuba na sila sa pag aasikaso sa Palay para lang may maganda silang ani at maibenta sana sa mas mataas na presyo. Sila ang dahilan kaya tayo’y may bigas na mailuluto. Tapos kinakawawa nyo sila sa pagbili ng Palay sa mababang halaga? It’s so unfair!!!” Lets all Voice Out our feeling in HELPING our FARMERS, let our Voice be heard and our Government will take ACTION IMMEDIATELY in this situation!!! Copy paste to support our Farmers!!”.

Her comment was supported by Jinefer Jayme Canoy in Tagalog which stated “Let us support our farmers, if not because of them we do not have rice on our table, hoping that the price of rice will increase as prices of farm inputs escalates, where is justice”.

Madelyn Canoy Seldon echoed the call of Diano and Canoy saying “Help us to have a better price, shall we just eat our rice? What about our viand? We incurred many during planting season. Rain or shine we toil the farm and now that it is harvest season, we are given a token price”.

In Davao del Norte rice farmers are now enjoying P16 per kilo of rice after the provincial government decided to facilitate and capacitate the rice farmers to attain a quality dried palay and sell the same to the National Food Authority.

This, after Governor Edwin I. Jubahib offered to intervene to buy the produce from the farmers after he laid down a scheme to help the rice farmers as rice prices drop in the local market.

Jubahib  in an interview with Newsline.ph said “I cannot close my eyes as rice farmers are demoralized while the traders buy their produce at P11/kilo and the sales is not even enough to cover their loans during the planting stage, so, I offered to buy rice directly from the farmers, but along the way we developed a better scheme—we collaborate”.

The collaboration was made among stakeholders, the Philippine National Police deployed 50 personnel, same number with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Office of the Governor 30 and the Provincial Agriculturist Office; an agreement was reached that the personnel will help in collecting the rice from the communities and bring it to the mechanized driers located in the towns of Sto. Tomas and Asuncion, and the same personnel help in the drying procedure.

The provincial government has five (5) mechanized dryers and some private traders offered to dry the produce at P1 per kilo. Aside from that, the government also established a solar dryer at the provincial sports complex, Jubahib revealed.

Enriquez said they are hoping that the agriculture department and the provincial government listen to their cry.

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