THE prevailing price of dry palay in Davao Region dipped to P15.28 per kilogram (kg) in the 4th week of October 2019 from P20.69/kg in the same period in October 2019.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority revealed the lowest farm gate prices in the last week of October this year is P13.92/kg and the highest price is P17/kg.
Davao City has the lowest prevailing price of dry palay with P13.92/kg, followed by Compostela Valley (P14/kg), Davao del Norte (P15/kg), Davao del Sur (P16.50/kg), and Davao Oriental (P17/kg).
Regional farmers group Masipag Mindanao said the lower prices of palay has been the result of unrestricted importation of rice from other countries after the passage of the Republic Act No. 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law in February this year.
“Prior pa na-ratify ni, nagaingon nami daan na rice liberalization will not bring good to our agricultural economy. Lugi ang Pilipinas ani,” Masipag Mindanao regional coordinator Leo XL Fuentes said in a text message with SunStar Davao.
He said farmers have lost P61.77 billion of palay based on the data from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) as of October 2019.
Fuentes said the law must be repealed and pass the Rice Industry Development Act (RIDA) bill instead to strengthen the rice industry.
He said other ways to strengthen the rice industry are to push land reform, genuine free irrigation, provide appropriate technologies for production, post-harvest support, and local marketing support to help farmers.
The rice tariffication law has lifted quantitative restrictions on rice imports and imposed 35-percent tariff on imports from the country’s neighbors in Southeast Asia.
Malacanang said President Rodrigo Duterte has not suspended the importation of rice, contrary to the reports of a major television network GMA 7 on Sunday, November 17.
But if this was true, Fuentes suspect it would only be temporary and would not totally ease the low palay prices.