By Myriam Layaoen, DA StratComms

Rice farmers are enjoying high farmgate prices of palay (paddy rice) this current dry season.

“To date, the national average price of dry palay is at P19.91 per kilogram (/kg), while fresh palay sells at P17.22/kg, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority,” Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar said.

“These farmgate prices, duly verified by our DA regional field offices, are fairly competitive and give farmers a good return for their investments and hard work,” the DA chief added.

During the last week of April, the highest farmgate price of dry palay (14% moisture content) was recorded in Northern Mindanao (Region 10), at P25.35/kg.

On the other hand, the lowest price of P17.58/kg was observed in Western Visayas (Region 6).

Aside from Region 10, rice farmers in six other regions enjoyed high average farmgate prices of dry palay, of more than P20/kg, namely:

  • P20.25 – Region 5;
  • P20.30 – Region 1;
  • P20.65 – Region 2;
  • P21.00 – Region 7:
  • P21.50 – Region 12; and
  • P22.93 – Region 11.

“Compared to the prices last season, the figures we are seeing now could be a manifestation of the normalization of the rice industry, after our transition from quantitative restriction to a tariffed trade regime,” Secretary Dar said.

Last year, palay prices were affected by the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law that lifted restrictions on rice imports, allowing anybody to import with prescribed tariffs.

“We recognize the birth pains of the RTL implementation. That is exactly the reason why we set up and rolled out immediate support mechanisms to help small rice farmers adjust and eventually make them competitive.

At this time, we are seeing the initial good results,” Dar said.

“We are happy that despite the challenges the industry is facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our rice farmers remain hopeful as we continue to assist them in increasing their yields and reducing their cost of production, through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), complemented by the banner National Rice Program (NRP) and the new Rice Resiliency Project (RRP),” he added.

On top of the regular NRP for both inbred and hybrid rice production and the P10-billion RCEF from the proceeds of the RTL, the DA has started distributing free seeds to rice farmers under the P8.5-billion RRP. They will also receive free urea fertilizers.

“Our farmers can count on the Duterte administration’s all-out support to massively intensify our local food production. With our experience on Covid-19, we can no longer downplay the importance of producing our own food,” Dar said.

“Indeed, the current high prices of palay are favorable to our farmers and their families, and we have instructed the National Food Authority to continue buying palay at P19/kg, and at the same time urge the local government units, particularly in major rice-producing provinces, to buy directly from their farmer-constituents,” Dar concluded.

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