BBM TO NFA: STABILIZE PRICES, PROTECT LOCAL FARMERS

Press Releases
28 September 2021

In an effort to alleviate the plight of local farmers over low farmgate prices of palay, former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. called on the National Food Authority (NFA) to assert its original mandate: the power to stabilize prices and maintain sufficient rice buffer stocks while protecting local farmers, too.

This, the former Ilocos governor and senator explained, is the quickest and tenable solution to perennial complaints of farmers over low farmgate prices for their grains even as it would also ensure food sufficiency for the whole country without resorting to importations.

“Ang role ng NFA is to stabilize buying prices of palay over the seasons, the dry and wet season. Bilhin nila sa tamang presyo sa mga magsasaka para hindi sila mapipilitan na ibenta ng palugi sa mga nananamantala. Kapag tagtuyot naman, ilabas na nila ang stocks ng bigas para hindi magkaroon ng shortage at hindi tataas ang presyo ng bigas. 'Wag na nilang tubuan, kasi ang gobyerno hindi dapat kumikita sa mga ganyan. Ganyan ang ginawa namin sa Ilocos,” he stressed.

According to local farmers, the cost of producing palay stands at P12.41/kg. This is way higher than the production cost for rice in Vietnam, which is around P6.22/kg, and in Thailand, which is around P8.86/kg. Although farmgate prices of palay from January to June still fell year-on-year from P17.42/kg to P16.94/kg, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

As it is, Marcos underscored that there is still a long-term solution and one of these is the need to inject developments in the agricultural sector, the foundation of the country’s economy, being an agricultural country.

“Matagal nang napabayaan ang agrikultura, hindi na nagkaroon ng bagong development projects sa sektor na ito. Yung mga magsasaka, bigyan natin ng mga bagong binhi, ‘yung bagay sa Pilipinas, bagay sa climate change. Tapos tutulungan natin sila through techno demo – paano gagamitin ‘yung mga bagong fertilizer, mga bagong pesticide. ‘Yung mga technical side, ituturo natin sa mga farmers. Tulungan sa production side, para makabili ng binhi, makabili ng inputs. Pati sa pag-market, dapat tulungan ng gobyerno para malaki ang value-added,” he said.

Marcos cited as an example what he started in Ilocos Norte. The provincial government allocated a revolving fund that was used for procuring seedlings, fertilizers, other agricultural inputs that farmers could borrow and for financing farmers’ loans.

“Pag nag-ani na, maniningil na kami ng utang. Ang bayad sa ‘min palay. Kukunin namin ang palay, dadalhin sa mill at ipa-process tapos dadalhin namin sa Maynila at ibebenta sa malalaking kumpanya. ‘Yung pagbebentahan, ibabalik na naman sa revolving fund. Nung ginawa namin ‘yun, mula sa pagiging importer, naging exporter na ang Ilokos, tumaas ang production namin by 183%,” he said.