Manila Standard : DAR: P20/kilo of rice possible thru mega farm

By Rio N. Araja | Manila Standard

The Department of Agrarian Reform believes incoming President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. can lower the prices of palay and rice in the market to P20 per kilo through its “mega farm” project that will consolidate small and contiguous farm lots into big farms for rice production.

Secretary Bernie Cruz said the agency has conducted several studies showing that the 150,000-hectare farm can produce an average of 142 cavans of palay per hectare per cropping season.

This translates to an income of P76,501 a year for a farmer-beneficiary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

“We will present this to President Marcos Jr. The decision is up to him on how to implement this. We are willing to help,” Cruz said in a press conference.

He said the Philippines has the modern technology and the capacity to produce “quality rice” compared to imported rice varieties which have higher pesticide residue and preservatives.

“What is also important is that we can help our local farmers. What is happening now is we are helping the foreign farmers,” Cruz said.

According to DAR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and Research Office David Erro, should the Marcos administration adopt the mega farm project, it would not only bring down the price of rice to P20 per kilo but it would also liberate the farmer-beneficiaries from “subsistence farming.”

Last month, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said there is still a shortage in the local production of fish, pork, and rice due in part to years of neglect of agriculture.

“Local production is not enough,” Dar said.

Food producers are also set to increase the prices of basic goods such as bread and sardines on the back of higher prices of raw materials.

The Philippine Baking Industry Group (PhilBaking) is looking to hike prices of the more affordable bread by P4.00 per pack—Pinoy Pandesal to P27.50 from P23.50 per 10-piece pack, and Pinoy Tasty to P42.50 from P38.50.

The Southern Philippines Deep Sea Fishing Association (Sophil) is also seeking to hike prices of sardines by P1.00, and by another P0.75 monthly given the higher prices of tin cans and logistics. With Jun David