The Department of Agriculture, farmers’ cooperatives and associations and the local government units  (LGUs) of Cebu and Negros Occidental are working together to provide PhP20.00 to PhP25.00 per kilogram of rice in the market. 

Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary Arnel De Mesa said that everyone is now getting involved in the efforts of the government to provide low-cost rice to consumers aligned with the agenda of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. 

“Everyone’s working double time and giving their share to make sure that the targets of the President are delivered,” De Mesa said, referring to the administration’s efforts to provide affordable staple food to the Filipino people. 

De Mesa also emphasized that the DA, private entities and other operating units in Cebu and Negros Occidental have allocated sufficient resources to benefit the less fortunate individuals. 

DA’s record showed that rice is now being sold at PhP25.00 per kilogram at the “Bigasan ng Bayan” in Negros Occidental, which is being operated with the support of the Federation of Irrigators Association of Central Negros-Bago River Irrigation System (FIACN-BRIS).   

Under this concept, FIACN-BRIS members working for the provincial government allocate 10 percent of their production to be sold to the most vulnerable sectors: elderlies, indigents and persons with special needs. 

The project is expected to expand to benefit more communities. 

In Cebu, the Sugbo-Merkadong Barato, conceptualized by the provincial government, is set to start selling PhP20.00 per kilogram of NFA-rice and PhP40.00 per kilogram of commercial rice to less fortunate individuals.   

The group is not a subsidy program, but a five-day trading hub that sells low-cost produce. 

With these programs in Cebu and Negros Occidental, De Mesa said that the Marcos administration wants to ensure that all sectors are protected not only that of the consumers, but also of the rice producers. 

“We are not only looking after the welfare of the consumers, but the rice producers as well,” De Mesa said. 

He emphasized that some LGUs have also launched procurement programs in their respective provinces to assist rice farmers. 

The local government of Nueva Ecija has introduced their “Palay Procurement Program” through its Provincial Food Council that buys freshly harvested palay to support farmers and assure them of competitive and fair buying price for rice. | PND

Photo Courtesy of PCO