Commentary: Hard work, as economy surges
Nueva Ecija (12 October) -- Typhoon Milenyo spared the province of Nueva Ecija, dubbed as the "Rice Granary of the Philippines" or sometimes called "Country's Food Basket." It survived the onslaught of typhoons Florita, Glenda and Henry in a steadfast fashion much like that of the economy which lived up to the challenges of high oil prices,repatriation of OFWs from the war zone and disasters like Leyte landslide, Guimaras oil spill, threats of Mt Mayon and Bulusan volcanoes, among others.
The resiliency of fundamentals remained in place as records show that agriculture is a leading performer, with around 6.7 percent improvement. In a recent performance survey, agricultural jobs accounted for substantial increase due to diversification efforts and capital outlay in agribusiness, hybrid rice production, policy of expansion in food outlets and construction of new markets.
Experts say that the inventory of food supply and non-food provisions continue to rise as the much-awaited-ber months reached the heights. Indicative of this is the low inflation rate of 5.7% in September. The stronger peso, lower oil prices and gains in stock market continue to provide positive business sentiment.
But the over-all positive outlook may prove to be tragic for farmers who are facing the harsh realities of very low farm gate prices of palay, particularly in remote areas.
According to reports, the farmers are forced to sell their crops to enterprising traders at a low price of P 6 a kilo (farm gate). Ordinarily, palay sells at the government price of around P 10 a kilo.
Farmers are advised not to sell their products at the unconscionable price of P 6 per kilo. Micro-Finance Council of the Philippines announced loan facilities of from P 5,000 to P 50,000 with no collateral. Loan applicants need to attend a 5-day seminar, 2 hours each day in order to be eligible for processing.
Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves ordered officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to go after onion smugglers who flood the market with cheap imported onions jeopardizing the livelihood of more than a half a million families of farmers in Nueva Ecija and nearby provinces. Teves issued the directive after meeting with town mayors led by Mayors Amelia Gamilla of Bongabon, Blas Canlas of Laur and Gabaldon Mayor Dominador J. Mandia; together with BIR Commissioner Jose Mario Bunag, BOC Commissioner Napoleon Morales; Rogelio Sangil, President, Association for Socio-Economic Advancement of Pinoys and Deputy Customs Commissioner Rey Nicolas. (PIA Nueva Ecija) [top]