Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 1, together with National Food Authority, will be providing free hauling services for small cooperative and individual rice farmers in the region.

Dubbed as “Palay Sakay: Libreng sakay ng palay, mataas na kita’y tagumpay,” this program is an initiative of DA-RFO1 which aims to provide free hauling of palay harvest from a pick-up point closer to the farmers’ area straight to NFA’s warehouses for higher market price.

In the province of La Union, an interview with a farmer from Sto. Tomas, La Union has revealed that dried palay is sold to local traders ranging from P12.00 to 15.50 per kilo. He said that such price is hardly a break-even for their cost of production. However, due to the high cost of transport rental to haul their produce to NFA which could provide them higher buying price, they are forced to sell their palay at a lower price to traders.

Recognizing this predicament of rice farmers in the region, DA-RFO 1 OIC Regional Executive Director Nestor Domenden said that DA must step in and assist farmers in what they need most at the moment.

“If one of the difficulties of our farmers in order to sell their palay to NFA to get a better price is the unavailability of vehicle especially during this pandemic, then we will lend our available mobile resources to them through NFA,” he said.

DA RFO 1 is set to make available eight hauling trucks to NFA for the free hauling of palay harvest to NFA designated warehouses in the provinces.
“We really need these trucks to haul the farmers’ palay produce kasi iyan ang mga hinaing especially ng ating maliliit na mga magsasaka. ‘Yung transportation po talaga ang problema nila especially sa mga farm locations na may mga feeder roads lang,” shared NFA Region 1 Director Yolanda Navarro.

Through the ‘Palay Sakay’, in coordination with the local government units and farmer leaders, a schedule will be set for the hauling of palay at designated ‘pick-up points’ in identified municipalities.

“We have to schedule kung saan pipick-upin kasi ‘di naman po pwedeng tatakbo ang ating truck na wala namang nakaready for pick up, “ Navarro added.

NFA will buy per kilo of palay based on certain categories. Under category A, palay is priced at Php 19.00 provided that it is clean and dry with 14% moisture content (MC) and with 95-100% purity.

Under category B, palay is priced at Php18.012 if it has 90-94% purity, clean and dry, with 14% MC.

Impact to farmers:
The program’s first beneficiary is the Association of United Farmers and Irrigators of Duplas, Incorporated whose members are from San Juan, La Union.

“Ang programang ito sa pagitan ng DA at NFA ay napakaganda lalong lalo na para sa aming mga taga barangay. Maihahatid na po namin ng walang dagdag gastos na arkila ng sasakyan dito sa NFA ang aming mga palay para sa mas mataas na presyo,” said Mr. Ramon Abad, president of the association.

(This collaborative effort of DA and NFA is truly remarkable especially for us at the barangay level. We can already deliver to NFA without spending on additional hauling cost and have a higher price for our palay.)
Meanwhile, Ms. Lydia Navalta, 60 years old, Chairman of the Provincial Farmers Action Council of La Union also encouraged her fellow farmers to sell their produce to NFA.

“I just hope that my fellow farmers would be able to see and hear about this so they too can sell their harvest to NFA and have higher income,” she said.
Small farmer cooperatives and individual farmers enrolled in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) and are included in the masterlist of their local government unit thru the Municipal Agriculture Office are qualified beneficiaries for this DA-NFA initiative.

Qualified farmer beneficiaries are encouraged to coordinate with NFA and their respective local government units for the scheduling of free hauling of their palay on designated pick up points.###

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