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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Solon cites NFA’s increase of buying prices for palay from farmers

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AGRI party-list Rep. Wilbert Lee on Sunday lauded the approval of the National Food Authority Council to procure local palay at higher prices to beef up the country’s rice buffer stock.

“The administration’s measure to boost the country’s rice buffer stock by buying local palay at a higher price is what the farmers — our food security soldiers — need now more than ever as they struggle with the effects of El Niño and low income. Spending more to boost their productivity is the right way to go,” Lee said.

According to the NFA Council, the approved increase in the procurement price of rice would give them flexibility to compete with private traders and help rice farmers boost their income.

The NFA’s adjusted buying price for dry and clean local palay is P23 to P30 per kilo from the previous P19 to P23 per kilo, while wet and fresh palay will be purchased at P17 to P23 a kilo from P16 to P19 per kilo.

Lee reiterated his call for the urgent passage of his proposed House Bill No. 9020 or the Cheaper Rice Act to institutionalize a price subsidy program for the government to buy palay from local farmers at a higher price to ensure their profit and entice them to boost their production.

“With the proposed Cheaper Rice Act, we will legislate an additional P5 to P10 to the prevailing farmgate price per kilo of rice that the government will buy from local farmers so that they can make a profit. When there is income, they will continue to increase their production. When the supply of rice increases, the market price will also decrease, which will also contribute to achieving food security in the country,” he said.

“If we want to reach P20/kilo of rice, we should make this proposal a priority measure and enact it as soon as possible,” he noted.

Lee believes the enactment of the bill would also address the concerns that farmers are forced to sell their land because they are not earning.

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