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FARMERS URGED: Sell dry palay for higher price

            The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) has encouraged farmers to sell good quality dry palay for more income amid the lower farm gate price of the grain staple.

            Alice Briones-Mataia, the agricultural economist of the DA-PhilRice Socioeconomics Division, said that farmers will earn an average of P1.50 per kilogram depending on quality when they sell dry palay.

            “There is a difference between the prices of dry and fresh palay. A farmer may earn an additional income of P7,472 for five tons per hectare (t/ha) when he sells dry,” Briones-Mataia said in a statement Monday.

            “If fresh (25-percent moisture content), the produce for a 5t/ha would be bought at P59,250, while for dry (14-percent moisture content), it may be up to P66,722.40,” she said.

            Dry palay has lower moisture content than fresh palay. It has a 14-percent standard moisture level for milling. Normally, miller-traders prefer dry palay with 13-14 percent moisture for a longer storage period.

            “Quality of palay commands a relatively higher price in the market,” Briones-Mataia said.

            To achieve such moisture content level, she said farmers have the option to use a solar or mechanical dryer.

            “While income is relatively higher, farmers are constrained in selling dry palay. Fresh palay is highly perishable and there is a limited number of drying facilities in most parts of the country,” Briones-Mataia said

            She also encouraged farmers to plant premium varieties that command higher market prices, including NSIC Rc 218, Rc 160, and Rc 216.

            “Traders prefer buying premium variety of rice that consumers prefer. Farmers should consider planting premium varieties that traders like to get. These varieties fetch higher prices by P0.50/kg – P2.00/kg relatively to other varieties because of its good aroma and better eating qualities,” Briones-Mataia said.

            The Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund program of the DA, that provides free rice seeds to farmers as mandated by the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), provides premium varieties.*PNA

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