Benguet solon eyes rice drying facilities

Benguet Representative Eric Yap has proposed measures that will mandate the government to purchase farm produce from local growers and establish palay drying facilities nationwide to boost farmers’ incomes and help attain the country’s longstanding goal of achieving food security.

Along with Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte, Yap filed House Bill 3382 which aims to ensure that the national and local governments will source food for their relief and school feeding programs from local farmers.

Complementing this measure is HB 3383, which seeks to appropriate funds for the establishment nationwide of modern rice drying facilities that will be accessible to farmers for free.

Duterte and Yap said these twin measures support the government’s priority goals of revitalizing the country’s agriculture sector and fighting hunger, especially among school-age children.

The lawmakers recalled that at the height of the pandemic, farmers came to the rescue of poor Filipino families by dropping their prices and at times, even distributing their produce for free to those affected by the COVID-19-induced lockdowns.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has altered every country’s priority. Aside from the reinforcement to healthcare institutions, what was also given the most important consideration is the provision and distribution of relief to the affected communities,” they said.

Under HB 3382, national government agencies and the local government units are mandated to prioritize the purchase of produce from farmers in implementing their respective relief and school feeding programs.

“Prioritizing the purchase of local produce shall mean the exhaustion of all available and applicable local produce at the most reasonable and practicable cost before resorting to imported or foreign produce,” the bill stated.

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