NFA buys 1M bags of palay from local farmers

MANILA -- The National Food Authority (NFA) was able to procure a total of 1,012,172 bags of palay from local farmers from January to November this year with 926,854 bags or 92 percent bought during the months of October and November. This after the agency introduced an additional PHP3/kg buffer stocking incentive (BSI) on top of its support price of PHP17/kg last October 12.

NFA said the cumulative procurement total without BSI from January to September was only at 85,318 bags, but for November alone, it was able to buy a total of 630,934 bags of palay from the top palay-producing provinces of Mindoro Occidental, Batangas, Mindoro Oriental, Bukidnon, Isabela, Capiz, Iloilo, North Cotabato and Camarines Sur.

NFA OIC Administrator Tomas Escarez said the remarkable rise in procurement may be attributed to the agency’s additional PHP3/kg incentive on top of its PHP17/kg palay support price and up to PHP0.70/kg delivery, drying and cooperative incentives.

“This means that given the right price, the NFA will be able to buy more from our farmers,” he said.

The PHP3/kg BSI is given across-the-board based on the agency’s table of Equivalent Net Weight (ENW) parameters for moisture content and purity. For clean and dry palay, the total buying price of NFA can now reach as much as PHP20.70 per kilogram.

“With the additional PHP3/kg incentive, we were able to entice more farmers to sell their harvest to us. At a time when private traders were buying at P20.28 or lower than the NFA buying price, our farmers decided to sell to us instead,” Escarez said.

The NFA chief emphasized that the agency serves as buyer of last resort to provide a fair income for farmers.

“In fact, the NFA is here to encourage traders to buy high to the benefit of farmers,” he said.

Meanwhile, an estimated PHP6.22 billion was saved by the consumers from the marginalized sector from the more than 10.36 million bags of low-priced rice distributed by the NFA from January to November this year.

An ordinary consumer saves at least PHP12 per kilogram every time he buys NFA rice sold at PHP27 per kilogram compared to the lowest imported well-milled rice sold at PHP39 per kilogram based on suggested retail price.

According to NFA, this savings translate to bigger purchasing power for ordinary consumers that they can use to buy other food items and necessities.

Escarez said that the food agency has accredited a total of 19,231 rice retail outlets nationwide currently selling NFA rice.

“We are utilizing several platforms to make sure that NFA rice reaches our poor kababayans even in the remotest and farthest barangays and island provinces,” he said.

Aside from its network of dedicated and individual rice retail outlets in public markets, the agency has also accredited non-traditional outlets such as Barangay Bagsakan and Barangay Food Terminals and Bigasan sa Parokya.

It has also partnered with the Department of Agriculture’s TienDA Malasakit and the Department of Trade and Industry’s Tulong sa Bayan Suking Outlets on Wheels.

NFA is also deploying mobile stores through its “Tagpuan Day Rice Response Delivery” (TRRD) in partnership with the accredited operator and local government units in remote barangays and resettlement areas around the country to serve marginalized consumers including the indigenous people (IPs).

TRDD is a rice distribution strategy where the PHP27/kg NFA rice is sold directly to poor and marginalized beneficiaries in the area at an appointed time and place in close coordination with the local barangay.

Escarez, meanwhile, said the delivery of 297,000 metric tons (MT) rice shipments under the open tender scheme in the NFA warehouses is almost complete.

With these new fresh stocks, the food agency can continue to inject low-priced rice to make it accessible and available to more consumers through its network of accredited retailers. (PR)