Our Struggling Filipino Rice Farmers: Why you should care and how you can help

Written by Patricia Yap

Featured Image from Rice Pinas Facebook page 

Agriculture has always been a vital part of the Philippine nation and culture.  For decades, the country has been known to be one of the best when it came to the agricultural industry and we have been thriving from it. 

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Photo sourced from Business Mirror Philippines | @BusinessMirror

In recent years, however, our nation hasn’t been able to keep up with the agricultural modernization as compared to other parts of the worldand its effects are showing. 

Due to years of unresolved progress and modernization, along with the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law (Republic Act No. 11203) which removes the regulation of imported and domestic rice in the country, various businesses have chosen to import crops from elsewhere due to its cheaper price.

This then creates competition with many of our Filipino rice farmers, causing them to struggle to make ends meet. 

With our rice farmers earning less than Php 200.00 a day, and palay (unhusked rice) being sold at a drastically low Php 7.00/kilo from the production cost of Php 12.00, our food providers can’t even provide for their daily living. 

With many farmers considering leaving this sector, and generations of their kin losing interest in continuing the trade, the whole country will sufferand we can’t blame them. We shouldn’t. 

As consumers, I urge you to care; and not only should you care, but you must also take action even through the simplest ways you can. Here are the different ways you can help our Filipino rice farmers. 

(ALSO READ: (ALSO READ: Pinoy Rice Farmers Forced to Stop Planting Due to Less Water from Angat Dam)

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Facebook post by Rommel Villacoba Tayao

Spread Awareness

The first thing we can do is of course to spread awareness on the issue. If more people become aware of what’s happening, then the listed ways we can help will follow naturally. The more people we can get in on the conversation, then all the more ways we can create initiatives to help our farmers. We shouldn’t remain ignorant and blindsided when we know we have the means to help out. 

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Photo sourced from Rice Pinas | @ricepinas 

Join Non-profit Social Media Groups/Organizations

Nowadays, people like to shop for their items through online shopping. So, with everyone already on their mobile devices, why not purchase rice directly from our farmers through different social media and other online platforms as well? 

There are online platforms such as Session Groceries and Rice Pinas that source rice directly from our local farmers straight to us for reasonable prices. Session Groceries even has a mobile app now, similar to online grocery shopping. You can check out other groups on Facebook, cause there’s a lot. These two are just the more well-known ones. 

(ALSO READ: Wow! You Can Now Order Food From Filipino Farmers Delivered Straight to Your Door)

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 Photo sourced from Philippine Rice Research Institute-PhilRice | @rice.matters 

Buy from local markets 

One of the reasons also why our local rice is priced higher in supermarkets is because of so-called “middlemen.” Middlemen can be in the form of individuals, companies, and big corporations. They get the produce of farmers to the market as most of our farmers do not have the capacity to do so. 

This process, however, adds additional fees to the product fees that do not go to our farmers. 

What we can do is to buy directly from local markets or palengekes. If we have the capability to go to these, then we should buy from them without the interference of middlemen. Some groups even set up local markets nearer to the city for our convenience, and you can even meet the farmers themselves! 

(ALSO READ: Siglo’s Farm to Fork Initiative: Encouraging the Community to Support Local Farmers)

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Photo sourced from Darren Langit via Rappler | @rapplerdotcom

Be consistent

Action for change isn’t a one-time movement. If you really want to help, then participate in the fight regularly as much as you can. Through our continuous support for our Filipino rice farmers, maybe at some point, we can create a regular local demand for their produce; which will hopefully create a sustainable source of income for them in the years to come. 

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Photo sourced from May Joy Latorza Fernandez

Imported rice may come at a cheaper price, but in the long run, what are we sacrificing? Who are we hurting? 

We must remember that we’re only consumers, without our farmers, we’re nothing. 

It’s very uplifting and inspiring when you see ordinary citizens doing their part to help their fellow countrymen. I hope you too can join in on the conversation and fight alongside them—with the initiatives of these many people and organizations, I hope our Filipino rice farmers won’t have to die for their trade.

Join in on the fight for our Filipino rice farmers! Let us know your thoughts.

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