Rice farmers in the Philippines recorded lower earnings during both the dry and wet harvest seasons last year despite having lower production cost.
Based on the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the total cost of rice farmers during the dry season slightly went down from P46,153 per hectare in 2018 to P45,842 in 2019.
For the wet season, production cost went down from P49,319 in 2018 to P46,463 in 2019.
However, net returns during the wet season also fell from P31,329 in 2018 to P16,546 per hectare.
Farmers’ net returns were also lower for the dry season, from P35,765 per hectare in 2018 to P24,159 in 2019.
PSA said that farmers earned an average of P0.47 for every peso invested in palay production last year. It was higher during the dry season cropping at P0.53 compared with the wet season cropping at P0.36.
Per kilogram, the average cost spent in palay production was estimated at P11.20, with production costs amounting to P11.47 during the dry season cropping and P11.38 during the wet season cropping.
Based on the same data, labor, fertilizer, seeds, fuel, and transport had the highest share in farmers’ production cost.
At the regional level, the highest production cost was reported in Ilocos Region at an average of P62,659 per hectare.
Palay farmers in Ilocos Region incurred the highest cost at P67,191 per hectare during the dry season, while Zamboanga Peninsula had the biggest spending during the wet season at P63,925 per hectare.
As for net returns, Northern Mindanao had the highest earnings at an average of P29,982 per hectare.
During the dry season cropping, Central Luzon netted the highest at P32,678 per hectare, while Northern Mindanao got the highest net returns for the wet season cropping at P33,975 per hectare.
Central Visayas, however, recorded the lowest net profit averaging at P2,686 per hectare. It recorded negative net earnings during the dry season cropping at P744 per hectare.
Meanwhile, Caraga had the least net returns at P738 per hectare during the wet season cropping.
For this year, Trinidad Domingo, a rice farmer in Nueva Ecija and a member of National Rural Women Coalition (PKKK), said in an earlier report that her production cost actually doubled compared to previous years.
“Before, I only spent P31,000 per hectare during the planting season. Now, I spend around P60,000 per hectare and since I own two hectares, I spend more than P100,000 just to be able to plant,” Domingo said.
“As for palay, I used to sell it for P16/kg. Now, during this harvest season and here in Nueva Ecija, which the government calls the rice granary of the Philippines, palay prices are being sold at P8/kg to P14/kg. Farmers are barely making money. Who do we turn to if the government is claiming prices are high at P19 per kilogram,” she further said.