GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- A member of the South Cotabato provincial board on Friday raised the alarm over the decreasing commercial buying price of palay (unhusked rice) in the area during the past weeks.
Board member Romulo Solivio, chair of the board's committee on agriculture, said local farmers are currently reeling from the unstable palay buying price, which has gone down to PHP14 per kg.
Citing their monitoring, Solivio said such situation is prevalent in all 10 municipalities and lone city of the province.
"It's very unfortunate for our farmers because it came at a time when the harvests are peaking in some areas," he said in a radio interview.
Solivio said he does not see any reason for rice traders to reduce the buying price of palay as there has been no major change in the prices of commercial rice in the markets.
However, he said it is possible that the presence of imported rice in the markets has affected the increase in buying prices.
Rice prices in the area start at PHP40 per kg., which increases depending on the classification. Rice products are classified as regular milled, well-milled, premium grade, and special variety.
The official said his committee will lead a legislative inquiry on the matter during the provincial board's regular session on Monday.
He said they have invited officials and representatives of the Department of Agriculture, National Food Authority, and Department of Trade and Industry to join the inquiry.
"We have to get into the bottom of this and determine possible safeguards and alternatives for our farmers," he said.
Solivio said they will submit the results of the inquiry to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture, for immediate intervention. (PNA)
Photo from South Cotabato website