Farmers are warning that nationwide hunger and food insecurity could worsen as a result of nonstop oil price hikes that keeps pushing the prices of food and services upward. “When prices soar, it is always the poorest who pay the dearest. Now, even farmers cannot afford to buy food due to lacking income. More Filipinos will go hungry,” says KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.
Whatever farmers make from farming and selling their produce is far from enough to cover the increasing cost of living and cost of farming,” Ramos said. Dahil sa napakamahal na presyo ng abono at langis, marami ang hindi na makapagtanim. May epekto ito sa seguridad sa pagkain ng bansa,” Ramos said.
Ramos said the effects of OPH are instantly felt by farmers who bear the entire cost of farming and food production. “Fertilizer prices keep rising to extreme levels. Gasoline and diesel for farm machinery are just too costly. Farmers who cannot afford the costs will either be buried in debt or be forced to stop farming altogether,” the peasant leader said.
Rowena Magpines, a small farmer from San Jose Del Monte City who makes a living by selling camote tops and other vegetables. If the harvest is good, she makes roughly P2200 to P2400 per week from selling camote tops and saba banana. She said she used to spend P400 per week on gasoline for water pumps when watering her crops. Now that oil prices are at skyrocketing levels, she could not afford it anymore. “Itinigil ko na ang pagdidilig. Hindi ko na talaga kaya ang presyo ng gasolina,” she said as she laments that vegetable farmers have not received any aid from the Bulacan LGU and the Department of Agriculture.
KMP demands P15,000 production subsidy and P10,000 cash aid for farmers. The group will join the ‘Isang Linggong Protesta laban sa OPH’ by leading Protestang Bukid or farm protests tomorrow, March 15, coinciding with the historic big-time OPH of P7 to P12 per liter increase.
Ramos said the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant 2 is just an extension of the government’s pandemic food security program that focuses on importation rather than strengthening domestic food production and aiding food producers. “It is preposterous that P20 billion will be spent to import fertilizer,” the KMP leader concluded. ###