MANILA — Volunteers and sympathetic buyers have raised P1.2 million to help rice farmers in Mindoro island who were devastated by a recent deluge of cheap grain imports, an online store said Wednesday.
The funds, collected through a call on Facebook, were used to "empower Mindoro farmers to mill their palay without having to resort to trader loans that leave them with little to no profit," Session Groceries said in a statement.
The farmers on September 28 will go to Manila for the first time to oversee the delivery of their milled harvest and "meet those who championed their cause," said the grocery service.
Session Groceries, which originated in Baguio, allows customers to order fruits and vegetables from its online app.
Buyers who pre-ordered goods get their rice and meet farmers at drop venues, or have their orders delivered to their doorsteps, said Session Groceries.
Farmers have complained that the price of palay has dropped to P7 to P11 a kilo due to a flood of cheap rice imports.
The Rice Tariffication Law, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in February, removed the cap on rice imports and allotted P10 billion from tariffs to aid farmers every year.