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Nueva Ecija gov eyes P2-B to help farmers cope with low palay price

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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali said his province’s food council is setting aside a total of P2.2-billion fund to purchase the paddy rice or palay harvests of local folk.

Umali said the provincial government had initially shelved P200 million for palay purchases last July and another P200 million last August for the palay purchases amid the prevailing low price of palay which farmers’ groups blamed on the Rice Liberalization Law.

Nueva Ecija is dubbed as the country’s rice granary.

The governor said that on top of the P400 million fund, the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines are prepared to loan out to the provincial government from P500 million to P1 billion each for the palay purchase program.

Umali said that his government will hold a dry run for the program in the next days in preparation for large scale purchases this October.

He said that at present, his program is giving priority to farmers tilling one hectare. Under the program, P15 per kilo would be allocated for freshly harvested palay with 14 to 15 percent moisture content, P14.50 per kilo for palay with 21 to 25 percent moisture content, and P14 per kilo for palay with higher moisture content.

Umali stressed that the provincial government would do away with middlemen in the purchases and that the palay harvests would be bought directly by his personnel from the farms or residences of the farmers.

While the provincial government maintains its own grain crop drying and storage facility, it would still need the support of private rice millers to store the palay to be purchased.

Umali said he has plans to build more rice mills and warehouses for continuing support for local rice farmers.

 

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