Tarlac farmers howl over low palay prices
TARLAC CITY: Farmers here expressed disappointment over the low-selling prices of palay (unmilled rice) in the market and to private traders.
During a farmers’ forum organized by the city council on Thursday, farmers belonging to different associations and cooperatives, including individual tillers, said they were forced to dispose the produce despite the current dilemma in selling them at low price.
The farmers blamed Republic Act 11203 or the “Rice Tarrification Law,” which compelled them to enter loans that further worsen their plight.
“We need to know now what can the government do to help us,” said the farmers belonging to the Alyansang Magbubukid ng Luisita, Buenavista Agriculture Cooperative, San Juan de Mata Farmers Association, and
Makabagong Magsasaka Farmers’ Cooperative of Batang-Batang.
Councilor Henry de Leon, committee chairman on Agriculture and Livestock Development, said the forum was purposely conducted to know the farmers’ situation amid the problem and was aimed at finding solutions.
“This is why we are here today. We want to take necessary steps and find possible solution to help ease the burden of our farmers,” he said.
De Leon said it came to his attention that palay prices such as R160 dropped to P16 per kilo while other varieties dipped from P13 to P7 per kilo.
Meanwhile, Mayor Cristy Angeles said she was saddened by the entry of imported rice in the country, as Tarlac City alone is 80-percent agriculture-dependent with around 10,000 farmers.
“The city government is doing all means to help our farmers, including distribution of subsidized seeds, fertilizers, farm machinery, technical support, and artificial insemination,” she told farmers, while encouraging them to present ideas to alleviate, if not totally eliminate, the crisis.
Meanwhile, the provincial government was granted a P200-million loan by the Land Bank of the Philippines to support about 67,000 local farmers.
Provincial agriculturist Alicia Cruz said the amount wouldbe used to purchase wet unmilled rice from farmers with a maximum of 1-hectare farmland at P18 per kilo.