Ilocos rice farmers enjoy record-level prices for harvests
SAN JUAN, La Union – The buying price of palay in the Ilocos region continues to hit record levels even as harvest for the summer cropping season has reached its peak.
This is pleasant news for palay farmers who are able to sell their harvest for up to P23.50 a kilogram to traders, the National Food Authority (NFA) said.
Dick Dulay, NFA Ilocos region information officer, said that while the NFA was losing its clients among farmers who would rather sell to traders at higher prices, the agency was still happy that these farmers are earning more.
He said farmers’ groups continued to bring their produce to the NFA, which buys palay at P17 per kg.
Farmers Isidro Bacani and Alejo Abat of San Gabriel town, La Union province, said the prevailing price of P23 per kg offered by rice traders was enough for them to recoup their investment.
They said this compensated for the increase in prices of farm inputs that include seeds and fertilizers, and even in salaries of helpers who prepare land for planting and harvesting palay.
The NFA-Ilocos said that based on its monitoring, dried palay was selling for P22 to P23.50 per kg.
Carlito Co, NFA regional director, said the buying price could stay high as rice traders continue to compete to buy as many stocks of palay as they can.
“The buying price is still high at this time even as the harvest season has peaked. Usually, prices should have been on the downtrend as fresh harvest starts to come in. But the high price of commercial rice in the market drives the traders to compete to corner a big volume of the harvest for their inventory, hence, the unusual high price of palay that farmers now enjoy,” Co said.
He said that at a buying price of P23.50 per kg, a 50-kg sack of palay would fetch P1,175.
“This is definitely very good news for our farmers. If such a trend continues, we expect more and more farmers to be planting palay, which is good for our goal of achieving rice self-sufficiency,” he said. Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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