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DA: Filipino farmers reaping benefits from high palay prices

Palay farmer

Filipino farmers are benefitting from global fears of a rice shortage resulting from the adverse possible impact of El Niño phenomenon, which forced world suppliers to tighten supply in the world market, an agriculture official said on Monday.

“For the longest time, Filipino farmers have always been at the losing end of the rice sector. But now, Filipino rice farmers are enjoying better prices from their fresh harvest, perhaps sparked by global fears of a shortage resulting from the adverse impact of El Niño forcing world suppliers to tighten supply in the world market,” said Agriculture Undersecretary Leo Sebastian of the Rice Industry Development.

Data from the Department of Agriculture (DA) National Rice Program showed palay prices in March 2023 rose to P17.69 a kilo for fresh and P19.73 for dry. Compared to the same month last year, palay prices were P15.99 for fresh and P18.41 for dry palay.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. concurrently holds the DA portfolio.

In April 2023, the price of fresh palay was at P17.66 per kilo and for dry palay, it was P20.38, while in April 2022, the prices were P15.57 for fresh and P17.95 for dry.

The highest posted palay price was in Central Luzon at P22 for fresh palay and P25 for dry, the DA-NRP data showed.

The DA Regional Field Office 3 covering Nueva Ecija, the rice granary of the country, reported that palay prices in April 2023 was at P20.46 for dry palay and P17.64 for fresh. These prices are higher compared to the April 2022 rates, which were at P18.20 for dry palay and P15.67 for newly harvested grains.

In addition, DA Regional Field Office 2 that covers Isabela, another major rice producing province in Luzon, showed the prices of palay in March 2022 were at P18.48 for dry and P15.1 for fresh. For March 2023, palay prices in Cagayan Valley region were at P20.47 for dry and P16.52 for fresh palay.

A separate data from the Philippine Rice Industry Stakeholders Movement (PRISM), comprising rice millers and palay traders, showed both fresh and dry palay prices for the 2023 dry season: Isabela, P18.50 (fresh) and P22.50 (dry); Nueva Ecija, P19.50 and P23.50; Bulacan, P20 and P24; Tarlac and Pangasinan, P18.50 and P22.50; Mindoro, P19 and P23; Leyte, P17.50 and P21.50; Caraga, P19 and P23; Iloilo, P18 and P22; and Davao, P19.40 and P23.40.

According to Joseph Fajardo of the Occidental Mindoro-based Tao Foods Co., his company has been buying palay at very high prices since 2022 from its clustered farmers. Mindoro is one of the provinces where palay prices are at the lowest.

Starting as a seed supplier in Sablayan, Mindoro, in 2022, Tao Foods is now into value chain operations, seeds, credit, technical support and has been carrying out buy-back scheme. Last March and April, the company bought fresh single palay variety with 77 percent milling recovery at P19 to P20 for every kilo.

Monitoring done by the Philippine Rice Information System showed that average dry palay prices were at P18.3 a kilo from January to June last year and P19.5 per kilo for the same period this year.

For fresh palay, prices for January to June 2022 were at P15.9 a kilo and P17.4 for the same period this year, said Darlynne Kaye B. Matias, PRISM Field Operations-Lead/Senior Research Specialist II of PhilRice Isabela. | PND

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