A higher buying price of P20.70 per kilo and incentives like seeds, loans, farm equipment and free trucking from the farm to the buying stations will be provided to the farmers who will sell their paddy rice to the National Food Authority (NFA).
These were the measures agreed in the first consultative meeting between the Department of Agriculture (DA), its attached agencies and regional offices in Davao City where they discussed problems being encountered by farmers.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the P20.70 buying price includes P17 per kilo for clean and dry palay plus an incentive of P3.70 per kilo was approved by the NFA Council.
He added that the NFA has P7 billion for its local paddy rice procurement which could be rolled over to the next harvest season.
Piñol stressed that the NFA will no longer buy imported rice but instead will buy locally produced rice for buffer stocking once President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Rice Tariffication Act.
In the meeting attended by officials of PhilRice, PhilMech and Regional Directors and Provincial Managers of NFA from Mindanao, the other problems confronting the farmers in dealing with NFA include the lack of drying facilities, the delayed payments and the inability of the agency to bring their buying operations to the field.
“Added to that is the dependence of many farmers on community traders for their financing for the purchase of fertilizers, farm inputs and even personal needs,” Piñol said.
He said to address the said problems, they agreed to open a credit program for farmers who will sell their produce to the NFA at 6% interest per year through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council.
Other interventions agreed upon were the establishment of drying facilities in NFA buying stations which the farmers can use for free, and tie-up with the DA and NFA for the use of the Rice Processing Facilities established by the DA in over 200 areas nationwide.