MANILA - Over 50 lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday filed a resolution seeking a supplemental P15-billion budget to allow the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy palay from local farmers as prices plummet due to imports.
Joint Resolution No. 18 directs the NFA to use the amount for urgent procurement of at least 750,000 metric tons of palay from local farmers at P20 per kilo and to sell NFA rice to consumers at P27 per kilo, Gabriela Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas told reporters.
Lawmakers estimate that the NFA could only purchase at least 350,000 metric tons or 7 million sacks of palay at a farm gate price of P20 per kilo with its current P7 billion budget for buffer stocking for 2019.
The measure is needed to save local farmers from the effects of the liberalization of rice imports, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said.
"This is is a multi-partisan resolution ng (of the) House. Kailangan talaga isalba ang ating magsasaka sa napakasamang epekto ng import liberalization law," he said.
(We really need to save our farmers from the ill effects of the import liberalization law.)
The Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) said local farmers could have lost P40 billion in the first half of 2019 due to the steep drop in prices of rough rice.
NFA Administrator Judy Carol Dansal earlier admitted that its budget was inadequate to purchase and store all rough rice supply from local farmers.
Some farmers from Nueva Ecija earlier claimed that price dropped to as low as P7 per kilo.