To raise rice farmers’ income, senatorial candidate Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan urged the National Food Authority to raise the buying price of palay (unhusked rice).
“I suggest that NFA raise its buying price from P17 to P19. This would help our farmers raise their standard of living,” he said.
Rice farmers have approached him about palay farmgate prices during his sorties.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the average palay farmgate price is between P17 and P19, depending on the quality of dryness of the palay.
The NFA buys at the pegged rate of P17 per kilo. In its current budget, NFA buys about 4.5 million bags or 225,000 metric tons of palay, costing about P500 million.
As the former Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, Pangilinan had control and supervision of NFA and was able to stabilize rice prices.
Among the senatorial candidates, Pangilinan is the only one that advocates for agriculture and the welfare of farmers and fishers.
When he wins his third non-consecutive senatorial term, Pangilinan said he would work on raising the budget of NFA and other agriculture-related agencies with the view of raising farmers’ incomes.
Statistics show that farmers and fishers remain the poorest sectors of Philippine society and economy.
Pangilinan said he believes that real progress cannot happen without the development of agriculture and those who cultivate the land and marine resources.
“We need to focus our attention on these basic sectors because if they remain poor, our country will remain at this level. If we raise their standard of living, we also raise the standard for the entire nation,” he said.