by James Earl Ogatis
Governor Arthur R. Defensor, Jr of Iloilo and Governor Eugenio “Bong” Lacson of Negros Occidental promised to help rice farmers cope with low prices of palay in their respective provinces.
According to DA-WV regional executive director Remelyn R. Recoter, the two governors were positive to come with a provincial initiative to address the low prices of palay after a series of discussions with them since yesterday and today.
“Gov. Defensor will implement the Provincial Livelihood Program for Cooperatives wherein initial fund of P100 Million will be sourced out from the Landbank of the Philippines. This will be paid by the provincial government in three years’ time at an interest rate of two percent per annum.” Said Director Recoter.
While Governor Lacson is inclined to implement an economic enterprise mode utilizing the existence of the rice processing center (RPC) which has drying, milling and storage facilities.
The provincial government will partner with all the RPCs in the area to cater the produce of the farmers not accredited and without NFA passbook.
Present during the discussions were officials of the Provincial Agriculture, Landbank of the Philippines and National Food Authority.
Recoter is thankful that the two governors heeded the challenge of Secretary William D. Dar to directly engage in the rice industry value chain in order to provide direct solution to the plugging palay prices.
She said that meetings is also scheduled for the remaining four governors of the region to discuss SURE Aid program to address present buying price of palay this harvest season.