Marcos: Php37-B Rice Farmer Subsidy Urgent, As Harvest Season Begins

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With the main rice harvest season starting next week, Senator Imee R. Marcos said it was urgent for the government to release Php37 billion to buy palay from local rice farmers already hurting from depressed farmgate prices due to cheaper rice imports.

“Our fear is that local rice will flood the market when harvest season begins next week, so the NFA (National Food Authority) should already be buying palay from local farmers while prices are relatively higher, or we’d be done for,” Marcos said.

Marcos filed Senate Joint Resolution No. 4 on Friday, urging the immediate purchase of palay by the Department of Agriculture and the NFA, with funds from subsidy programs of the departments of social welfare, national defense, the interior and local government, and environment and natural resources.

The DSWD has Php33.9 billion that can be used to buy palay and give rice instead of cash to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Marcos said.

Marcos added that Php2.9 billion more from the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of National Defense can be used to buy rice allocations for the police and military, as well as for personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Philippine Coast Guard, and Bureau of Fire Protection.

More than two million rice farmers are reeling from the depressed farmgate prices of palay, after the NFA released from its warehouses some four million bags of imported rice in the market, Marcos said.