CL farmers laud Duterte’s move to address rice shortage

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Farmer’s group from Central Luzon lauded the recent intervention of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on the issue of rice shortage as he moved to bring down the price of rice in the market.

Simeon Sioson, chairperson of the Federation of Central Luzon Farmer’s Cooperative, said the president’s move is very timely since majority of rice farmers are now buying the staple food that they themselves have been planting on their rice lands.
Sioson pointed out that most of rain-fed farmers have now sold most of their produce and buying only on a daily per kilo basis and are desperately trying to make both ends meet until the next harvest time in September thus having to contend with the spiraling rice prices in the local market.

It was learned that the majority of the rice farmers in the country can only plant once a year in rain-fed agricultural lands during the main cropping of the wet season and in Central Luzon alone, less than half-a-million farmers are clamoring for cheaper priced rice, Sioson lamented adding the timely dialogue of President Duterte with rice traders to come out with much cheaper rice is a welcome relief.

In an open letter, Sioson said the President’s action “broke the bureaucratic decision-making impasse at the National Food Authority by ordering immediate rice importation to replenish the depleted NFA rice inventory.

The farmer leader noted that the President’s “action is imperative in addressing existing conditions in the rice market. At present we may have enough commercial rice supply in private traders but not cheap rice in NFA….. worse cheap NFA rice is not available for poor consumers in NFA sales outlets for the first time in many years.” –ELOISA SILVERIO