Farmers work together to supply Palawan town with cheaper rice, other produce

Gerardo C. Reyes Jr.

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Farmers work together to supply Palawan town with cheaper rice, other produce

CHEAP RICE. Residents of Narra in Palawan flock to a public facility to buy rice at P20 a kilogram.

courtesy of Raymundo Imaysay

Residents in a town in Palawan flock to buy all sorts of food supplies, but what most buyers are after is the rice, which costs only P20 per kilo.

PALAWAN, Philippines – For the second week this month, residents of Narra town in Palawan flocked to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in the province to buy food supplies, including rice, seafood, vegetables, eggs, and other produce. 

But what most buyers were after was the rice which cost only P20 per kilogram. 

The prices of rice available from local retailers range from P50 per kilo to P 65 per kilo, which is P30 to P45 higher than what is available at a “Kadiwa” organized by Palawan rice farmers themselves.

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Kadiwa is a market system that sells major agricultural goods at reasonably low prices to help poor Filipino households and consumers.

It started in the province on January 18, and until this week, people kept on coming back to the covered court to buy fresh farm produce and even seafood. 

Their initial success was made possible by farmer-members of 16 associations in Narra town under the Batang-Batang River Irrigation System (RIS) Irrigators’ Association. 

They came from Antipuluan, Cabages Sunriser, Caguisn Linamen, Central Malinao, Delta Falls Upper Lapu-Lapu, Samahang Magpapatubig ng Kanayon, Luntiang Kabundukan, Magsasaka ng Caraniogan at Guminubat, Malinao Tugbuan, Nagkakaisang Lahi, Princess Urduja Maharlika, Sagisag ng Pagsasaka, Tugbuan Caguisan, Upper Malinao, Upstream Farmers of Princess Urduja, and Ugnayang Magsasaka ng Urcatugma.

Narra is known as the rice granary of Palawan, a municipality that dedicates much of its vast land to rice farming, distinguishing it from other towns in the island province.

Philipps Rasco from Narra town said that when the Kadiwa opened, many people went to the NIA compound to buy vegetables like Chinese cabbage, banana, and squash, but most were there for cheap rice.

The organizers limited the rice up to three kilos per buyer so that others could still avail of cheaply priced rice. A total of 16 sacks of rice at that price was made available during the event.  

Ann Belandres said she informed her friends about the availability of Kadiwa rice so that they could also buy it. 

The residents, who were visibly pleased with the Kadiwa, said they wished that the program would be sustained so that they could continue buying food supplies at much cheaper prices.  

Raymundo Imaysay, president of Ugnayang Magsasaka ng Urcatugma, said it was their way of supporting the government by offering food products at affordable prices, much cheaper than those in public markets and smaller marketplaces.

“Ito ay aming pasasalamat sa pamahalaan sa mga interventions na itinulong nila sa aming mga farmers. Kaya kami naman ay gumagawa ng ganito upang makatulong din sa mga kapwa natin Pilipino sa pamamagitan ng pagtitinda ng mga produkto sa mas mababang presyo, lalong lalo na ang mga mahihirap,” said Imaysay, a rice farmer based in Princess Urduja, Narra town. 

(This is our way of expressing gratitude to the government, especially for its interventions and programs provided to the farmers. We are doing this to help our fellow Filipinos, especially the poor and needy, by selling products at lower prices.)  

Due to the steep prices of essential goods, people opted to buy from the Kadiwa to access fresh and high-quality farm and fishery products at more affordable rates, he said.

“Kung ganito rin ang gagawin ng mga kooperatiba sa iba’t ibang parte ng bansa. nakakatulong tayong maibsan ang kahirapan. Kung sa mababang halaga, mabibili na nila, bigas man o gulay, o isda, napakalaking tulong. Sana itong pinapakita naming ay makabigay din ng inspirasyon upang gawin din ng ibang farmers’ cooperative,” he said.

(If cooperatives from different parts of the country do the same thing, it can cushion the impact of poverty. If they can buy things at lower prices, especially products like rice, vegetables, or fish, it would be a big help. I hope these examples inspire other farmers’ cooperatives.)

Imaysay, incidentally, is also the general manager of the Palawan Agrarian Reform Communities Federation (PARCOFED), an association of farmers’ cooperatives in the island province. 

The PARCOFED in Narra town offers farm products daily, while the Batang-Batang RIS Irrigators Association, comprising smaller farmers’ groups, aims to maintain a Kadiwa monthly. The approach allows them to help as many people as possible in the town, particularly those in need. –

Gerardo C. Reyes Jr. is an Aries Rufo fellow.

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