Hindi magbibilad ng palay kung sapat ang drying facilities: Kiko

Statement of Sen. Francis Pangilinan on DPWH order to jail, fine farmers drying palay on national roads

Hindi magbibilad ng palay kung sapat ang drying facilities: Kiko

Hindi lang pang-aalipusta sa maliliit na magsasaka ang utos ng DPWH na ikulong at pagbayarin ang mga nagpapatuyo ng palay sa mga national road. Kakulangan din ng kaalaman sa tunay na kalagayan ng mga magsasaka.

Kung merong public mechanical drying systems, lalo na yung gumagamit ng libreng solar energy, hindi magpapatuyo sa sementadong kalye ang mga magsasaka natin. Kasi alam nila na hindi ito efficient, na maraming naaaksayang palay.

At alam din ito ng pamahalaan. Ayon sa isang 2010 na pag-aaral nito, 5.9% ng ani ng palay ang naaaksaya dahil sa inefficient na pagpapatuyo. Kung ang rice production natin ngayong taon ay mga 13 million metric tons (sa tantya ng Food and Agriculture Organization), yan ay katumbas ng 767,000 metric tons ng palay! Kung lahat yan ay magigiling nang maayos at wala nang tapon, yan ay katumbas ng 767 milyong kilong bigas. Kung meron tayong 100 milyong Pilipino, mahigit tig-7 kilong bigas na tayo niyan.

Nasaan na ang pangakong post-harvest facilities ng pamahalaan? Huwag pag-initan ang maliliit, solusyunan ang kanilang pangangailangan na hindi lang para sa kanila, kundi para sa ating lahat na pinapakain nila.

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The DPWH order to arrest and fine farmers for drying their palay on national roads is not only insulting, it also reflects its ignorance on how our farmers are doing.

If there were public mechanical drying systems, especially those that harness solar energy, our farmers would not dry their palay on cemented roads. Because they know, this is not efficient, that many of their palay get wasted.

The government knows this as well. According to its 2010 study, 5.9% of the harvested palay is wasted because of inefficient drying methods. If our rice production for the year is about 13 million metric tons (a Food and Agriculture Organization estimate), that is equivalent to 767,000 metric tons of palay! If all of that is milled properly without waste, that is equivalent to 767 million kilos of rice. With 100 million Filipinos, each would have more than 7 kilos of rice.

Where are the post-harvest facilities the government promised? Don’t pick on the small folk, provide solutions for their needs, not only for them but also for all of us they feed.