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Yamang Bukid boosts IP farmers in Palawan

Puerto Princesa City—A fast-emerging farm tourism destination here has partnered with the local government of Narra, Palawan to buy palay from farmers affected by plummeting prices of the staple grain.

Yamang Bukid boosts IP farmers in Palawan
Bro. George Maria, Yamang Bukid Farm Palawan vice president for community affairs, chats with farmer Henry Umayao on a rice paddy in Narra, Palawan. Dianne Kathryn Datu
Bro. George Maria, Yamang Bukid Farm Palawan vice president for community affairs, said the farm would buy at least P100,000 worth of ready to mill palay at P25 per kilo, way above the prevailing buying price of the state-run National Food Authority of P19.

Maria and other officials of Barangay Bacungan-based farm met with officials of Narra municipality and expressed their intention to procure palay from impoverished farmers there.

“This is a great opportunity for the farmers of Narra because you will buy the palay at a higher price and give back a portion of the rice to them,” Vice Mayor Crispin Lumba Jr. told Bro. Maria at the official’s office last Oct. 29.

Hope Alas, YBF vice president for tourism affairs, said the amount to be used was net proceeds of  last month’s run for the farmers staged by the farm tourism destination.

“This is our commitment to the farmers and to those who joined and believed in our cause,” said Maria, a former seminarian.

Eugene Sumaydeng, municipal agriculturist, recommended YBF to consider buying from indigenous peoples (IP) communities who are cultivating organic upland palay.

“Your help will be hugely felt in these far-flung areas,” Sumaydeng said.

As part of their commitment, Lumba said the local government will shoulder the drying and milling of the palay and assist in the transportation of the grains from the upland down to the town proper.

Maria, the YBF official, said they expected to help dozens of impoverished IP farmers.

“What we’re doing is really small, but we hope this could snowball into something big and spur other businesses, well-off individuals and organizations to do the same so we can help alleviate the sorry situation of our farmers,” Maria said.

Lumba, the vice mayor, said his town has planned to push for a similar initiative and the partnership with Yamang Bukid Farm was a start.

“You know about government bureaucracy, we have to abide by it especially if involves people’s money, so your project is a timely and welcome development,” he said.

Farm officials said they would give back to the farmers half of the milled rice and keep the other half for redistribution during its Christmas outreach missions next month, and use the collected rice bran or darak, as swine feed.

Topics: George Maria , Yamang Bukid Farm Palawan , National Food Authority
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