Over 600 Bulacan farmers get higher buying price for palay
CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, Philippines — More than 600 farmers in this Bulacan provincial capital are earning P3 more for every kilo of their palay (unhusked rice) harvest through a partnership between the city government and the National Food Authority (NFA).
The city’s 660 farmers have been selling their clean and dry palay at P22 per kilo, which is higher than the P19 per kilo ceiling price of the NFA.
The city government subsidizes the additional selling amount under the NFA’s Palay Marketing Assistance Program for Legislators and Local Government Units (Pallgu) through an initial P1 million worth of funds for the farmers’ 6,600 bags of wet and freshly harvested palay. Each farmer is allowed to sell 100 bags.
A procurement team from NFA Bulacan has been going to the farmers’ harvest site to pick up the bags of palay since early this month. Proof of NFA purchase and other documents and receipts are then submitted to the city government.
In an interview on May 24, Mayor Christian Natividad said the city’s partnership with the NFA would continue every cropping and harvest season from March to May and November to January.
The procurement partnership aims to protect the farmers from middlemen who buy their palay at a low price and sell it at a higher cost, allowing the local farmers to earn more, the mayor said.
“Those middlemen control the buying price of palay, which is very low. Now, farmers can sell their harvest to NFA for P3 higher [than the prevailing price of P19 per kilo],” Natividad said.
El Niño preps
Natividad said implementing the Pallgu is also one way of supporting the farmers in preparation for El Niño in the coming months. El Niño is a weather phenomenon that is anticipated to bring hot and dry weather across the country.
Melencio Domingo, 70, a farmer from Barangay Santor and president of the farmers’ group Magsasakang Malolenyo, said the extra income they would earn from the partnership was timely, noting that the prices of palay inputs like fertilizer, insecticides and diesel continued to rise.
“This is a great help for us, especially since we are expected to bear the brunt of El Niño and other increasing expenses,” Domino told the Inquirer on Monday.
The NFA launched Pallgu in 2005 to help farmers sell their palay at a higher price and also to acquire more buffer stocks to sustain the province’s needs during calamities.
Malolos is the second local government unit (LGU) in Central Luzon to implement Pallgu. An LGU in Tarlac province had earlier adopted the partnership.
Natividad said he would increase the city’s Pallgu budget by up to P3 million.