NFA misses 2018 procurement target
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Food Authority (NFA) failed to hit its procurement target for 2018 of 2.6 million bags despite additional incentives to farmers.

In a statement, the NFA reported that it only procured a total of 1.24 million bags of palay nationwide. It added that only 151,211 bags were bought with the add-on P3 per kilo buffer stocking incentive (BSI).

With the BSI, however, the NFA said Region IV exceeded its procurement target by as much as 141 percent in November, a month after its implementation.

The P3 per kilo incentive is given across the board based on the NFA’s table of equivalent net weight parameters for moisture content and purity.

For clean and dry palay, NFA’s total buying price can reach as much as P20.70 per kilo.

In 2018, the 10 provinces in Region IV were able to purchase a total of 849,795 bags of palay from farmers in Batangas, Quezon, Laguna, Mamburao, Marinduque, Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Palawan, Quezon and Romblon.

The volume is 90 percent of NFA’s 947,840 bags target for the whole of 2018.

For this year, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuell Piñol said they are targeting to procure seven million bags of rice.

He said with an initial budget of P7 billion, the NFA aims to buy 350,000 metric tons of paddy rice for the first half of 2019.

This is equivalent to 227,500 metric tons or 4.450 million bags of rice.

Piñol said the NFA has already purchased one million bags of paddy rice in the first 15 days of the year as the agency started an aggressive procurement program from local farmers.

The NFA said it is set to intensify its palay procurement for buffer stocking as it prepares for a bigger volume of buffer stocks sourced from local harvest with the lifting of quantitative restrictions on rice imports.

NFA OIC administrator Tomas Escarez said they are already preparing for a more aggressive palay buying operations on a year-round basis.

“Our logistics and manpower have to be ready for the projected influx of palay deliveries from farmers to our warehouses.

“We are now also buying at a higher price with the recently-implemented additional buffer stocking incentive of P3/kg that raised NFA’s palay procurement price to a maximum of P20.70/kg,” Escarez said.

The agency emphasized that the successive increases in palay farmgate prices reaching P25-P28/kg over the past two years has limited NFA’s buying capability at its support price of P17/kg approved by the NFA Council in 2009.

However, it emphasized that with the liberalization of rice importation, local palay prices are expected to dip when more low-priced imported rice flood the market to the benefit of consumers.

“To help sustain our farmers’ productivity and profitability, we will be pouring all possible resources on buying all the harvest that farmers would be selling to NFA,” Escarez said.

The NFA said it coordinating with the Department of Agriculture (DA) to intensify its buffer stock procurement.

DA Secretary Manny Piñol pledged support to NFA’s procurement operations by setting up drying facilities in NFA buying stations to dry freshly harvested palay bought from farmers.

Piñol said the drying facilities may also be made available for free use by farmers.

He added the DA would also provide trucks to NFA to pick up farmers’ produce at the farms based on DA’s identified harvest and pick up points.

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