In an aid to the low price of the palay in the province, Provincial Board Member Albert Rama proposed an ordinance this week prescribing the classification and corresponding minimum buying price.

According to Rama, there are around 37,249 rice farmers in Palawan while the prevailing buying price of palay ranges from P8 to P13 per kilo.

The average production cost is P12.93 per kilo and P12.29 per kilo for inbred and hybrid palay.

“The above mentioned predicaments of rice farmers had continue for many years resulting to high poverty incidence among the farmers,” Rama said.

Rama also said that RA 7581 or the Price Act was enacted to protect the consumers from price manipulation, however, there is no law to protect the producers or the farmers from unreasonable low buying price of the palay.

Under the proposed ordinance, it will be prohibited for any person to buy palay below the prescribed minimum buying price.

On its Section 3, fresh palay will be P13 per kilo; skin dry is P15 per kilo; and ready for milling is P18 per kilo.

According to Rama, all palay traders will be required to apply for accreditation from the provincial government before they will be allowed to operate.

LGU must also supervised the accreditation of the traders.

“It is quite unfortunate that our farmers, considered as the backbone of the our nation, continue to be victims of economic and social injustice because buying price of their produce continue to plunge below the production cost and yet price of milled rice in the market remain high,” Rama said.

Any person found violating the ordinance will be penalized with an amount of not more than P5,000 or imprisonment of not more than one year or both upon the discretion of the court.

On its Section 5, within 15 days from the approval of this ordinance the Office of Provincial Agriculture shall formulate the Implementing Rules and Regulations for the ordinance.

The proposed ordinance has been referred to the committee on agriculture for further discussions.