Sen. Risa Hontiveros pushes for subsidies to help local farmers

Chiangmai, Thailand - November 7, 2015: Ban Pa Bong Piang Rice Terrace is located in Mae Jaem District, Chiang Mai Province. It is another rice terrace attraction that is currently gaining popularity among tourists and photographers. During September- the end of October, the ladder rice fields at bang Pa Bong Piang will still be green but when it comes to early-mid November, the rice fields will turn into splendid gold. It is regarded as one of the finest and the most beautiful rice fields in Thailand.

Senator Risa Hontiveros proposed solutions in order to combat the crucial issues faced by local rice farmers after the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) has confirmed that the prevailing farmgate price of palay has plummeted to its lowest in 8 years. 

According to a report from the Department of Agriculture (DA), due to the sharp decline in the farmgate price of rice, there are areas in the country where farmers are left with no choice but to sell their produce for as low as P10.00 per kilo.

At the 10th National Congress of the Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), Hontiveros suggested that farmers should be provided financial aid, or a “bayad lugi,” of P12,000 in order to cope with the losses they suffered due to falling prices of palay. She also filed a resolution to urge the government to immediately release the P6.5 billion worth of  subsidies to be distributed as assistance for local farmers.

According to Hontiveros, with the ongoing debate and deliberation on the issue, it is the farmers that continue to suffer. The neverending discussions dim the real focus of the issue, which are the farmers that have been seeking for relief since the issue has severely affected their livelihood. “Ang nagpapakain sa atin ay walang makain,” she added.

She also stated that she is pushing for the nationwide implementation of a Rice-Subsidy Program which will allow the local farmers to supply rice to the government for a value not less than P20.00. This way, the program can help raise the profit of farmers and prevent them from selling rice for very insufficient earnings. It can also help sustain the supply local rice at markets. 

Hontiveros also said that she supports the raise of tariffs on imported rice to protect our local farmers and the implementation of import ban on imported rice as she believes it is the cause of the crisis.

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