The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Western Visayas will work with local government units (LGUs) in Western Visayas for the intensified local palay (unhusked rice) procurement following President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s approval of extending buffer stocking to 30 days from the previous nine days.
DA Regional Executive Director Remelyn Recoter, in an interview on Friday, said Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. has already initiated the local procurement a few years ago.
“He has allocated I think PHP100 million for the purpose of loaning it out to cooperatives, especially for those with rice processing centers,” she said.
However, they still have to coordinate with other provinces in the region for the same purpose, she added.
Recoter said some provinces did not engage in palay procurement and instead provided their farmers with machinery and seeds, among others.
The intensified LGU palay procurement targeting the country’s top 20 producing provinces was among those discussed during the DA national management committee meeting led by Secretary William Dar held in this city on March 28-30,2022 as one of the focused areas to ensure food security amid the health pandemic and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
To support the buffer-stocking, DA will extend concessional loans to LGUs through the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
“This will lead to a more competitive procurement process during palay harvest, which traders can no longer dominate. The LGUs will now buy, dry, mill, store, and sell rice to their constituents,” Dar said in a statement released by the DA Regional Agri-Fishery and Information Section (RAFIS) on March 31.
Western Visayas is the third-highest-palay producing region in the country after Central Luzon and Cagayan Valley.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that Western Visayas posted 2,356,902.44 metric tons of palay production last year, 2.67 percent higher than the production in 2020.
The province of Iloilo has posted the highest production of 1,018,989 metric tons while Aklan has 105,547.11 metric tons; Antique, 302,746 metric tons; Capiz, 383,810; Guimaras, 61,277; and Negros Occidental with 483,534 metric tons.
Source: Philippines News Agency