Retail prices of rice in Negros Oriental are expected to further go down with the start of the harvest season, a Department of Agriculture (DA) official said yesterday.
Alejandro Rafal, provincial officer of the DA-Provincial Agriculture Technology Coordinating Office, told the Philippine News Agency that while the province is not self-sufficient in rice, the harvest could help bring down the cost of the staple even after the lifting of the price cap set by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. under Executive Order 39.
Rafal said this could stabilize the supply of rice while helping local farmers boost their income.
The National Food Authority (NFA) buying price for palay is P19 per kilo, while its rice selling price is P23 per kilo.
Rafal said at least five local government units (LGUs) in Negros Oriental are subsidizing their local farmers with P2 to P5 a kilo of palay bought by the NFA.
These LGUs participated in the Palay Marketing Assistance Program for Legislators and Local Government Units and provide a top-up to the NFA’s buying price of rice.
Rafal could not give exact data on the actual volume of harvested rice as his office is still processing reports coming from the LGUs.
There are 22 towns and cities that are key rice production areas, such as the cities of Bayawan and Canlaon, as well as Ayungon town.
Rafal said more than 11,000 hectares of land in Negros Oriental have been planted for rice in the previous months.
Based on the agency’s distribution of seeds, he said, the province has 31,865 metric tons of harvestable rice grain.
“But if we compute at 3.2 tons or four tons, our average yield would reach 60,000 metric tons,” he added. (PNA)