This was how Serafin Santos, provincial agriculturist of Nueva Ecija, described the farmers’ results of rice farming this dry season cropping.
He said the average yield now in the province’s farmlands is seven metric tons (140 cavans of 50 kilograms each). But he hastened to add that many farmers are reporting harvest of more than 220 cavans per hectare.
“It was because the weather was good for the growing and cultivation of the rice plants,” Santos said. “Many farmers are also using certified seeds of the inbred rice variety and also hybrid rice seeds and have infused more science in their rice production ventures.”
Santos said a total of 162,000 hectares were planted this season, which was more than 20,000 hectares the usual planting areas in the province during this period. He said heretofore unirrigated areas are now serviced by the completed irrigation facilities. Several other farmers also used irrigation pumps in areas not reached by the irrigation facilities, he added.
“The farmgate price is comparatively high even when it is already the peak season for harvesting. It ranged from P19.50 to P20.20 per kilogram,” Santos said.
Recalling, he said this high farmgate price for fresh palay harvest happened three years ago during the early harvesting period but it went down drastically as the harvesting peaked.
“We cannot say this farmgate price will remain steady till the end of the last week of April. Magalaw kasi ang presyo ng palay (It’s because the buying price of palay is not stable),” Santos said.
But observers predict that if ever the farmgate price goes down in a few days, it would not be very low. This is because of the constant talks about dwindled rice supply and the already depleted supply of the NFA-procured rice.
Authorities said there is enough supply of rice in the country especially now that it is again harvest time. Only the NFA rice, whose selling price is much less than the commercial rice, is absent in the market.
Reports said the NFA imported rice is set to arrive in May or June this year.
But while the farmers are more than happy about their big harvest and the high farmgate palay price, many consumers, particularly the poor, are not happy. They said that with the high ex-farm price of palay, the selling price of rice in the market would also be high.
A ricemiller in San Jose City said the fastest way to compute on how much the milled rice would cost is to multiply it by two.