“The low price of palay keeps farmers indebted. With the continuing rise in cost of production, farmers would be doomed to be landless, increasing oil price is a major culprit,” said Joseph Canlas, Amgl chairperson and Anakpawis Central Luzon Regional Coordinator.
Amgl said that farmers in the region usually spend P55,015 per hectare on irrigated lands, but could shoot up 41% increase when water level on canals is insufficient or there is no irrigation structure at all. Oil consumption such as diesel could reach to 500 liters costing the farmers P22,375 (at P44.75 per liter when the study was conducted). Total cost of production on non-irrigated lands cost about P77,390 per hectare.
The group’s study stated that on irrigated lands, land rent comprise 18%, usury or interest to loans (interest of 1-cavan per P1,000-loan) 11%, chemical inputs 23%, labor 18%, treshing 10%, rental of machineries 4%, seeds 1%, irrigation 3%, food expenses 12%. On cases farmers use oil products to pump up water from wells or creek, oil costs comprise the bulky 29% of the total cost of production. The group said that an average yield of 100 cavans could value at P75,000 at P15 per kg of palay buying price set by the traders. When using oil products, farmers are left with a debt of P2,390.
“Our demand to increase the price of palay is not separate to our long-term call to reduce land rent and other cost of production. We also specify that the increased price should benefit the producer-farmer and not the traders. We also demand that the National Food Authority to increase its palay purchase from farmers to pull up the buying price of traders,” he added.
The group added that the Aquino government should immediately act on increasing the price of palay as it would affect the food security of the country. The continued depressed prices could put farmers into further debt and compelling them to give up lands as payment. The groups also debunk the notion that increase in price of palay would result an increase in price of rice.
“Price of rice has been climbing without the price of palay increasing as it is under the control of traders or the cartel. Thus, in increasing the price of palay, we should abolish this cartel and control the price of rice so that it would not be used as a pretext to further increases,” Canlas said.
Anakpawis Partylist said that the continuing oil price hike affects not just the farmers but also other sectors. Oil price hikes could immediately result price hikes of food and services putting people into debt and deep poverty.
“We join the nationwide demand of farmers to increase the price of palay and immediate stop to oil price hikes. We challenge the Aquino government to stop ‘noynoying’ to these legitimate issues as they affect our day-to-day existence. We appeal other sectors to join our call and press Aquino to act for the benefit of the people, even for once,” Canlas said. #