The Negros Occidental provincial government has partnered with the Federation of Irrigators Association of Central Negros-Bago River Irrigation System (FIACN-BRIS) in selling rice for PHP25 per kilogram (kg) at the Food Terminal Market here starting Thursday. Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson lauded the voluntary act of the irrigators' association, composed of rice farmers from Bago City and the neighboring local government units, of making low-priced rice available to Negrenses. 'They are willing to share with the community. They want to help the consumers,' he told reporters after the 'Bigas ng Bayan' inauguration on North Capitol Road. Lacson said the FIACN-BRIS, led by their president Pedro Limpangog, would sell 10 percent of their total production to the public at PHP25 per kg whenever supply is available. At the 'Bigas ng Bayan,' priority consumers are senior citizens, indigents, and persons with disabilities (PWDs). Individual buyers can avail up to 5 kgs only. Limpangog and Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez joined Lacson at the inauguration of the rice outlet. The provincial government earlier tapped the FIACN-BRIS, which is under the National Irrigation Administration-Negros Occidental Irrigation Management Office, for its Dagyaw Project to produce high-yield rice at a lower production cost with the assistance of job order (JO) workers, who are also association members, in planting crops and operating farm machinery. 'When I received the letter from the irrigators' group informing me about their plan, I was pleasantly surprised. I couldn't imagine this group of farmers selling at that price. We all know the plight of our farmers, they struggle year in, year out,' Lacson said. He noted that the provincial government did not give farmers a condition to sell their produce at a specific price when it decided to hire JO workers to help the rice farmers. 'If it's really successful and sustainable, then we promise the other association (to participate), but of course, we have to check their track record. This group (FIACN-BRIS), they have a good track record. We are confident that when we help them, there is a good result,' the governor said. Limpangog said 44 irrigators associations are part of the collaboration to sell rice at PHP25 per kg. He assured the public that the rice stocks will be replenished once these are sold out. The "Bigas ng Bayan" outlet sold rice to at least 455 individuals on the opening day.
Source: Philippines News Agency