Wed, 22 Jan 2020

Relief agencies to buy rice directly from local farmers

Philippine Information Agency
05 Dec 2019, 18:38 GMT+10

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Nov. 26 (PIA) -- Government relief agencies will soon directly purchase its rice requirements from the farmers themselves in a bid to motivate the country's food growers to produce more and earn more.

The move also empowers farmers to return to the farms where they could prop up the country's food supply while getting all the help from the government.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexie Nograles bared this during the Farmer's Forum on Government Assistance to Irrigator's Association in Region 7 at the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Regional office here on Nov. 26, 2019.

NIA BOARD CHAIR. National Irrigation Administration Board Chairman and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexie Nograles announces the assurance that buying rice from farmers would be by cooperatives, and making sure everyone gets benefited, during the recent Farmers Forum here in Bohol. (rahc/PIA_7/Bohol)

Nograles, who also sits as NIA Board Chairperson, said the government believes part of the problem in the continued high price of rice is the presence of middlemen: businessmen who largely influence the buying price of rice to the detriment of the rice farmers.

In the past few months, the farm gate buying price of rice, especially in Luzon, has gone considerably down, but the market price for rice has remained high, said Nograles.

The move to procure directly from the farmers would ultimately eliminate middlemen who tend to add up another layer in the pricing of rice in the markets.

Farmers have also shared that with businessmen buying them, they hardly have the control in the price as the buyers procure in bulk and haggle for low prices.

Then, too, only the National Food Authority (NFA) buys their stocks from farmers, and buys it at government price, upon which businessmen can easily buy at a lower price when bought in bulk.

Recently, however, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the government agencies with feeding and social relief programs to directly deal with the farmers in their rice requirement, reported Nograles.

The order from the President to the NFA is to empty their stocks now and start buying local rice

On top of the requirement is the Department of Social Welfare and Development's (DSWD) 20 kilos monthly rice allowance to indigent beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) as well as its relief program's rice requirement.

The Cabinet secretary added that the government also tasked the Department of Education (DepEd) to source out its supplementary feeding program requirements from the farmers.

Also, among the government agencies tasked to buy their rice from the farmers is the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for their inmate food requirement of government detention facilities in the country.

The Department of Health (DOH) was also tasked by the President to secure their patient feeding requirements directly from the farmers to spur local buying.

With the government finally looking at securing food from local sources, a cut in importation could also save the country its precious dollar resources but the bigger premium is empowering farmers to finally earn its place in the society. (rahc/PIA7/Bohol)

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