Farmers decry low unmilled rice farm-gate prices | Inquirer Business

Farmers decry low unmilled rice farm-gate prices

/ 04:25 AM February 21, 2022

The farm-gate prices for palay or unmilled rice in various provinces currently ranges between P12 a kilo and P17.20 a kilo, according to various groups—levels which, farmers have complained, are too low for them to eke out a decent income.

Data provided by the Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women, rice watch group Bantay Bigas and the Anakpawis partylist group showed the lowest prevailing price of unmilled rice was in Camarines Norte and Iloilo at P12 a kilo recorded from Feb. 13 to 17.

The highest farm-gate price of unmilled rice was P17 to P17.20 a kilo in Leyte, Albay, Tarlac, Pangasinan and Pampanga.


In Capiz and Misamis Oriental, palay was sold at P12 a kilo during the period. On the other hand, unmilled rice was sold for P14 to P15 a kilo in Negros Occidental, Palawan, Laguna, Occidental Mindoro, South Cotabato, Isabela and Camarines Sur.


Cathy Estavillo, secretary general of Amihan and Anakpawis, said farmers are incurring substantial losses at current prices.

“Luging-lugi na iyon kasi dahil dito sa tuloy-tuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng mga farm inputs, lalong lalo na iyong pagtaas ng abono … halos weekly pagtaas ng langis (Farmers have sustained losses due to successive increases in farm inputs and fuel costs),” said Estavillo in a phone interview with the Inquirer.

Expensive inputs

Data from the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority shows the retail price of prilled urea averaged P2,499.04 per 50-kilo bag based on prices from Feb. 7 to 11, significantly higher than P1,060.77 per 50-kilo bag a year ago.

Also, the average price of granular urea surged to P2,535.39 per 50-kilo bag from P1,015.18 per 50-kilo bag.

Since the beginning of 2020, pump prices have been increasing steadily, with the cumulative net increase exceeding P10 per liter.

Groups claimed that, since the Rice Tariffication Law was signed into law, farmers have not been able to sell their produce for at least P20 a kilo, which Estavillo said was the ideal farm-gate price for farmers to take home a decent amount of income.


“As the harvest season continues, rice farmers are forced to sell their product at a very low price due to the dictate of monopoly private traders who traditionally use the flooding of imported rice as leverage, on top of the structural weakness of absence of postharvest facilities in the national rice sector, and the decoupling of the National Food Authority which procurement price serves as regulatory measure brought about by the law,” said Estavillo in a statement.

“The Rice [Tariffication] Law enabled this big traders and importers to reap giant profits at the cost of depressed farm-gate prices and undermined self-sufficiency, thus, it is undisputed that the Duterte administration policies are detrimental to the interest of Filipino rice farmers and poor consumers,” she added.

Tariffication impact

They said when Republic Act (RA) No. 11203 took effect in 2019, the farm-gate price of palay in Nueva Ecija dropped to as low as P7 a kilo.

In 2020, the recorded price was at P13 to P14 in Isabela and Nueva Ecija. Last year, it was P10 per kilo in Occidental Mindoro.

Estavillo said to address the decline in prices of unmilled rice, the government should support rice farmers through good farm-gate price, production support and postharvest facilities, among others.

They also called for the repeal of RA 11203 and pushed for the enactment of bills for the development of rice industry and national food security based on self-sufficiency and self-reliance.

House Bill No. 8512 proposes a P495-billion budget for the Three-Year Implementation Plan to introduce fundamental reforms in the rice industry.

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It covers the following: Rice Production Socialized Credit Program with P25 billion allocation; Accelerated Irrigation Development Program with P45 billion and P20 billion for rehabilitation and repair; PostHarvest Facilities Development Program with P30 billion; Farm Inputs Support Program with P50 billion; Research and Development and Extension Services Program with P15 billion; and P310 billion allocation for National Food Authority’s local procurement program. INQ

TAGS: Business, farmers, rice

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