MANILA – To raise rice farmers’ income, senatorial candidate Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Sunday 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. Makakatulong ito sa ating mga magsasaka na mabuhay nang marangal sa kanilang hanapbuhay (This would help our farmers live a decent life in their livelihood),” Pangilinan said in statement.
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.
Agriculture and fisheries are his chief advocacies because these are where the most indigent Filipinos are, said the former Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization.
“Kailangan nating tumutok sa batayang sektor na ito dahil kung mananatili silang mahirap, mananatili rin ang bayan natin sa ganitong antas. Pag naiangat ang katayuan nila sa buhay, naaangat din natin ang antas ng buhay ng buong bayan (We need to train 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.
OTHER BILLS ON AGRICULTURE
When he wins in his third senatorial run, Pangilinan said he will work on raising the NFA budget in line with increasing the buying price of palay.
At the same, he vowed to immediately file the following bills:
* Sagip Saka Act of 2016 (Farmer Entrepreneurship and Development Act of 2016) – to help farmers shift from subsistence farming and at the same time help create more jobs.
* Agriculture and Fisheries Calamity Fund Act of 2016 – to aid farmers and fishermen during times of calamity.
* Crop Insurance Act of 2016 – to expand the insurance coverage to other crops.
* Imbak Tubig Act of 2016 – to build small water impounding irrigation systems.
* Creation of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – to ensure the strategic development in marine resources.
* Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization Act of 2016 – to strengthen the Agricultural Training Institute
* Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016 – to stop smuggling of food items.
* Irrigation Service Fee Act of 2016 – to institutionalize a bigger share for the irrigators’ associations in the collected irrigation service fees.