Piñol batting for P1 hike in NFA’s buying price for palay to P18 per kilo
Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on Friday mulls recommending to the National Food Authority (NFA) the increase in buying price of palay to P18 per kg. as his agency focuses on working for the increase of rice production by local farmers.
“Personally, I would like to recommend to the NFA a higher buying price so it would be able to compete, but not to the point that it will spike a higher price in the market, because the consumers will be the one to complain,” Piñol told the media during the press conference for the opening of the “TienDA” outlet in Benguet.
At present, NFA’s buying price for clean and dry palay is P17 per kg. with additional incentives of P0.70, according to NFA.
Aside from higher palay buying price, the secretary said farmers should be given incentives, such as credit facility, drying facilities and other farm equipment, among others, to encourage them to increase their productivity.
“With this assistance, even if the buying price is low, it will still increase their profit,” he said.
He said his agency made a major policy shift in addressing farmers’ concerns: instead of giving a subsidy, local farmers will be provided easy access to financing.
He said the government, through his agency, has expanded its Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) program under the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC).
PLEA is a special credit facility designed to address the financial needs of marginal and small farmers and fisher folk for a fast, convenient and affordable credit.
A non-collateral loan for agri-fishery production will be provided through cooperative banks, cooperatives and non-government organizations (NGOs) as credit delivery channels or lending conduits.
To protect the farmers, especially when their crops are damaged during calamities, those who availed of such credit facility will automatically be covered under the government’s crop insurance program.
The DA official added that his agency is currently distributing some 170 units of solar irrigation systems to farmers across the country as a way of mitigating the effect of climate change.
In 2017, the country’s rice production was posted at 19.28 million metric tons, the highest in years, the secretary said.
He added that the country’s national average production is at 4.3 metric tons per hectare. (PNA)