PAMPANGA

Groups ask NFA to continue buying palay at P20 per kilo

MABALACAT CITY -- The National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan) and rice watch group Bantay Bigas urged the National Food Authority (NFA) to continue buying local farmers' palay at P20 per kilo.

The group said the computation of Senator Cynthia Villar that farmers spend P12 to produce a kilo of palay is allegedly incorrect.

"Maling pagsusuri yung sinasabi ni Senator Cynthia Villar na may kita na ang magsasaka kung bibilhin ang palay nila ng P17 kada kilo dahil ang gastos sa pagsasaka ay P12 kada kilo," said Cathy Estabillo, Amihan secretary general and Bantay Bigas spokesperson.

Amihan and Bantay Bigas said that according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the average rice yield per hectare in 2018 is 3.87 metric tons (3,870 kilos) or P65,790 gross harvest at P17 per kilo.

Taking away P49,745, the average cost of production (2017 PSA data), a farmer will only get P16,045 net income which is at P4,011 per month or P133.71 per day.

"This is only 38 percent of the poverty threshold which is at P10,481 per month. Paano mabubuhay nang maayos at marangal ang isang pamilya sa ganitong halaga? Kulang pa nga ito para makakain ng tatlong beses sa isang araw ang pamilya ng magsasaka. Kakailanganin nilang mangutang para mairaos ang bawat araw at matustusan ang iba pang pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan," Estavillo said.

"Our farmers do not deserve this kind of treatment from the country's policy makers. It is unjust and denies the farmers of their right to life," Estavillo added.

The groups are calling for at least P20 per kilo support price from NFA which will give farmers a net income of P27,655 or P6,913.75 monthly income.

"Kulang pa rin kung tutuusin kaya nga dapat hindi na bumaba pa dito habang tinutulungan ang mga magsasaka na pababain ang gastos sa pagsasaka sa pamamagitan ng suportang serbisyo at subsidyo," the peasant leader said.

"Sa P20 kada kilo, aabot sa 350,000 MT o pitong milyong sako ang mabibili ng Php7 bilyong pondo ng NFA. Kaya sinusuportahan namin ang mga panawagang bigyan ng dagdag na budget ang NFA para makapamili sa mas marami pang mga magsasaka," she added.

The groups said the NFA should be strengthened and maintain its mandate to stabilize the supply and prices of rice and reiterated their demands to repeal the Rice Liberalization Law through HB 476 filed by Gabriela Women's Party Representative Arlene Brosas and the Makabayan bloc and enact HB 477 (Rice Industry Development Act) and HB 239 (Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill).


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