Farmers’ group complains against palay buying price

Published April 19, 2018, 11:34 AM

by iManila Developer

By Chito Chavez

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said Malacanang’s order for the National Food Authority (NFA) to raise its palay buying price from P17 to P20 per kilo only proves that the prevailing buying price is, indeed, low.

GRAINS OF LIFE – A farmer gathers palay that have dried under the sun and places them in sacks in San Rafael, Bulacan. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said the Philippines is unlikely to achieve self-sufficiency in rice because agricultural lands have been taken over by commercial interests. (Jansen Romero)
GRAINS OF LIFE – A farmer gathers palay that have dried under the sun and places them in sacks in San Rafael, Bulacan. (Jansen Romero/MANILA BULLETIN)

“This is actually long overdue. This was KMP’s call and demand six years ago during our National Rice Summit. Government’s palay buying price should be set at P20 and even higher. The current production price of domestic rice is P12.41 per kilo or between P43,000 and P46,000 per hectare,” said KMP secretary general Antonio Flores.

“It remains to be seen if the NFA would indeed increase its buying price of palay to P20. We will be vigilant and we will strictly monitor NFA,” he added.

Apart from this, the group protecting people’s rights said the government should address the issues of the entire rice industry, including landlessness of farmers, high land rent and usurious rates, high production cost, dependence on chemical inputs, lack of irrigation, among others.

“A nationalist framework on agriculture is necessary to genuinely develop the local rice industry and ensure the nation’s food security,” Flores argued.

Also, the KMP said President Duterte latest tirade against land reform and human rights advocate Sister Patricia Fox clearly shows his utter disrespect for people working for human rights.

Duterte said he ordered Bureau of Immigration (BI) to conduct a full-blown investigation of Fox for her alleged “disorderly conduct.”

“Duterte is practically bragging about his unwarranted behavior. He is further encouraging international criticism and outrage with his tactless ranting and bullying,” Flores pointed out.

“Those who have worked with Sister Pat in her religious and human rights endeavors know that she is not capable of doing anything ‘disorderly.’ From what we have witnessed during the International Fact-Finding Mission in several regions in Mindanao, it is the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), as sanctioned by their commander-in-chief, who are irrepressible in their misconduct and grave abuse of authority under martial law,” claimed KMP chairperson emeritus Rafael Mariano.

“The government’s flimsy and preposterous accusations against Fox absolutely expose the baseless trumped-up charges against farmers and peasant leaders across the country,” according to the former agrarian reform secretary.