A group of farmers in Bago City, the largest rice producer in Negros Occidental province, has turned to the provincial government so they could cope with the low farmgate prices of palay (unhusked rice).
Myrna Villa, chair of the 200-member Newton-Camingawan-Para (Necapa) Farmers Association based in Barangay Taloc, said on Thursday that during the cropping season that began in September, they sold their stocks to traders at only PHP14 to PHP15 per kg.
Villa said with the current PHP10 to PHP13 farmgate price, they fear possible losses after spending PHP12 for production cost.
“We urge (the) government’s intervention in this very low farmgate price of palay,” she said, adding that the association has sent a letter to the provincial government, expressing its intention to sell its palay to them as it also planned to tap the National Food Authority (NFA), which buys palay at PHP19 per kg.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson earlier said the PHP5-million fund allocated by the provincial government for the procurement of palay was still available.
The province’s buying price will be at PHP15 per kg. It will procure the farmers’ palay, and sell the stocks to government institutions.
Villa added that even as the farmgate prices of palay remain low, the cost of farm inputs remains high.
To help address this, Necapa plans to mill and dry its produce and look for other buyers, mainly from the government.
The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) has reported that the current buying price of palay in the province ranges from PHP10 to PHP13 per kg.
The rate was supposedly PHP18 to PHP20 before the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law.
Retail prices of rice sold at the Bacolod Central Market, range from PHP40 to PHP52 per kg., which shows a difference of at least PHP30 between the prices of palay and rice in the province.
The prevailing price per kilogram of regular milled rice is PHP55; well-milled rice, PHP40 to PHP52; and special rice, PHP52 to PHP55.
However, rice retailer Jonathan Bustillo said they do not dictate the high prices in the market.
They cannot do anything about it as the prices set by traders are also high, Bustillo said.
“We purchase rice at PHP1,900 to PHP2,000 per bag, and we just impose a PHP2 increase per kilogram so we can also earn even a little,” he added. (PNA)