NFA told to open buying stations, start purchasing farmers’ fresh palay

Sunday, April 15, 2012

MANILA — Farmers’ organizations in various parts of the country said that local

Map of Sorsogon showing the location of Irosin

Map of Sorsogon showing the location of Irosin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

traders are manipulating the market price of freshly harvested palay as they called on the government to immediately open its buying stations to stop the said practice.

According to watchdog Task Force Food Sovereignty (TFFS), the National Food Authority must also start purchasing fresh palay from marginalized farmers and let them access the NFA Procurement Program without the farmers’ passbook requirements.

In Irosin, Sorsogon, TFFS lead convenor Arze Glipo said farm gate price of fresh palay was pegged between P13 and P14 per kilogram but this has declined to P11 per kilogram.

The lower price is said to be a result of heavy rains that battered the province recently.

“This is also happening in areas which experienced heavy rains in the past days. Local traders know that there is not enough time to dry the grains and farmers need the money badly, hence they are delaying procurement which reduced the price of fresh palay,” Glipo said.

To arrest the further decline of farmer’s income, TFFS asked the NFA to expand their buying stations in remote areas to save transportation cost for farmers who have to travel to key cities and municipalities just to avail of the service.

“One way that government can help farmers build resiliency and recover from the worsening impacts of climate change is to ensure that they get a fair price for their produce. In this case, NFA should step in and buy fresh palay from farmers at P14 per kilogram and dried palay at P17 per kilogram,” Glipo noted.

Moreover, the group urged the NFA to relax or, if possible, cancel the requirements for revalidation of accredited individual farmers who own or does not own the land they till.

For instance, if the farmer is a land owner, he only needs to submit a certified photocopy of the transfer certificate of title (TCT) from Register of Deeds and certificate of land ownership award (CLOA) from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), among others.

By comparison, a farmer who is not a land owner will have to present numerous documents such as the management take-over contract, written proof indicating farm/lot possession, leaseholder agreement/contract, barangay chairman or barangay agrarian reform council (BARC) chairman certification, and location of map.

With so many requirements, the NFA, Glipo said, is already denying the right of smallholder farmers, especially those who are not land owners, to sell their produce to the agency. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

Original article.

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