April 17, 2012 - The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today trooped to Mendiola Bridge in Manila and assailed President Aquino for his inaction on rice farmers’ demand to increase the buying price of palay to P20 per kilo.
KMP spokesperson Antonio Flores said “it’s already harvest time and the Aquino government remain deaf on our demand to increase the farmgate prices of palay to P20 per kilo.”
Flores said “despite the bountiful harvest, unscrupulous traders only buy palay at an average price of P10 to P12 per kilo.”
The KMP said that in Central Luzon, traders are buying farmers’ palay at P14.50 per kilo while traders in Laguna are buying at P12 per kilo. In Panay region, traders are buying palay at P8.00 to P10.00 a kilo.
“This shows that the National Food Authority’s (NFA) current buying price of P17 per kilo fails to influence the buying price of unscrupulous traders,” the peasant leader said.
“While the Aquino administration brags of a bountiful harvest, farmgate prices of palay cannot even help us recover from the skyrocketing costs of production,” Flores said adding: “We doubt that the county would be rice self-sufficient by next year.”
“The government’s abandonment of its obligation to support farmers illustrates Aquino’s landlord character, leaving production solely to his tenants while benefiting and cornering the bulk of harvest – parasitic and Noynoying,” Flores said.
A KMP study in a one hectare rice land shows “a rotovator and hand tractor consumes an estimated 600 liters of gasoline for every cropping, while gasoline-operated irrigation pumps consumes at least 150 liters per cropping.”
“At P55 per liter, this means each rice farmers shoulder P41,250 for gasoline alone. And for every P1 increase in the price of gasoline means an added P750 production cost for the rotovator, hand tractor, and irrigation pump alone for a one-hectare rice land,” the KMP states.
Flores said that “including land rent, fertilizers, pesticides, and machinery rentals, the costs of production would shoot up to a minimum of P75,000 production costs per hectare.”
“With this, each rice farmer spends P18.75 per kilo of palay. This explains why rice farmers are deep in debt and run to loan sharks,” says Flores.
“Actually, our demand to raise the price of palay to P20 per kilo is only an immediate relief to help us plant for the next season,” he said. #