Amid the alleged shortage in the supply of the staple grain in the country, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol urged farmers in Western Visayas to increase their rice production.
Piñol, during his visit to Iloilo on Wednesday, said the current farmgate price of fresh palay ranges from P20 to P24 per kilo.
“Before, the farmgate price ranged from P8 to P12 per kilo only,” he noted.
Piñol clarified that there is no rice shortage in the Philippines.
But he admitted that rice prices have increased.
According to the agriculture secretary, one of the primary reasons for the increase is the “rising production cost.”
Piñol said they are now looking for ways to remove the tax on fertilizers in order to lessen the production cost, thus increasing farmers’ income.
In the first six months of the year, the land area planted to rice in the region increased by 40,000 hectares, he revealed.
“Next year, it is projected that there will be low supply of rice in the world market, so you better plant more,” Piñol told the farmers.
“Do not be afraid that the tariffication on rice will result in the flooding of rice supply here from other countries. Out of the 40 million metric tons, 38 million metric tons already have commitment,” he said.
Piñol said once the tariffs are implemented, the tax or the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund would be used by the agriculture department to buy seeds from the farmers.
“I am encouraging the seed growers in this region to produce more seeds for we will buy from you at P40 per kilo,” said Piñol who turned over P49.7 million worth of rice combine harvesters and four-wheel drive tractors to different farmers groups in Western Visayas on Sep. 5 at WESVIARC in Jaro district, Iloilo City.IMT