23 LGUs allot P5-B to buy & market palay
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that some 23 provincial local government units (PLGUs) have committed a total of P4.95 billion for processing and marketing palay directly bought from farmers to help them cope with the continued drop in farmgate prices of unhusked rice.
Initially, some 13 PLGUs of the country’s top rice-producing provinces – including Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Cagayan, and Bataan – committed funding for the palay procurement and assistance program.
Then the PLGUs of Kalinga, Mountain Province, Marinduque, Iloilo, Capiz, Bohol, Biliran, Zamboanga Sibugay, Sarangani and Agusan del Norte followed suit.
“Our efforts to partner with our provincial governors is now coming into fruition as we jointly help prop-up palay prices. Through this, we hope to provide sure market for the produce of our rice farmers at a fairly competitive price at least for this season in these provinces,” Dar said.
Dar said that most of the PLGUs are already in the preliminary process – including the conduct of committee meetings and crafting of Sangguniang Panlalawigan resolutions that would authorize them to avail of a loan facility from Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).
Under the Palay sa Lalawigan Program, LBP would provide easy access loans to interested local government units to bankroll their direct engagement in the rice industry value chain.
“We are closely working with Land Bank to provide loan schemes that are easily accessible with minimal or no interest to our farmers affected by low farmgate prices. We are trimming down the requirements to attract more farmers in availing these loans,” Dar said.