NFA urged to buy more palay to stop price drop
Malaya, September 9, 2008

RICE Watch and Action Network (R1) yesterday urged the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy more palay from the farmers at the start of the harvest season this month to halt any further decrease in palay prices.


Jessica Reyes-Cantos, R1 lead convenor, said the NFA should help the farmers recover from the very high cost of production due to the increase in fertilizer prices and other farm inputs.


"Now is the time for the NFA to influence palay procurement and set in place the P17 per kilo buying price that President Arroyo promised at the height of the rice supply crisis last May. We would like to see the government rescuing the farmers this time, after flooding the consumers with low-priced rice and slowly driving the market prices of rice down," said Cantos.


Cantos also criticized the rice millers crying over their problem of rice stocks left unsold due to the down trend in prices of rice in the market. "The traders and millers were part of the problem when they scampered to buy palay at the start of the harvest season last March, driving up the prices of rice due to speculations. The government’s panic-buying of rice in the international market did not help as this further led the prices in the world market upward," said Cantos.


Philippine Confederation of Grains Associations (Philcongrains) president Herculano Co earlier complained against the imported rice that have been pushing down prices of wet palay, threatening to make farmers lose billions of pesos in income. Co told the media that the situation is grim for many millers since they bought high before the NFA bombarded the market with 2.3 million metric tons of rice at subsidized prices.


"It amazed us no end that the rice millers are now mouthing the farmers’ loss in income when their real concern was on how to release their stocks that they practically hoarded at the time when they were anticipating more price increases in the market," Cantos said.




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