National Food Authority hikes rice procurements

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - February 6, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Food Authority has increased its market presence in the country due to better local procurement and the entry of more imported rice.

From an average of 9.18 percent last year, NFA has expanded its market share to 11.76 percent in January.

This as the grains agency accredited more than 6,000 additional rice outlets last month, bringing the total outlets selling NFA rice at P27 and P32 per kilogram to 26,879 nationwide.

NFA officer-in-charge Tomas Escarez said the  implementation of the ‘just in time’ policy in distribution had ensured better quality of low-priced rice in the market.

“As rice import deliveries come on a staggered basis, through the various designated ports across the country, we deliver rice to our outlets on a first in-first out basis to avoid deterioration and ensure that what we sell are fresh stocks all the time,” Escarez said.

Of the 1.25 million metric tons of NFA rice imports contracted under both government-to-government and open tender scheme, a total of 1.01 million MT had been delivered with the balance already in transit and expected to arrive soon.

“Low-priced good quality rice will be available throughout the year. Based on our average daily sales, our imported rice stocks will last until August this year,” Escarez said.

NFA has also been aggressively buying palay, with total procurement reaching 146,319 bags last month.

The traditional summer crop harvest  which occurs in March to May accounts for about 30 percent of national annual production.

Escarez had instructed all NFA field offices to keep all buying stations open daily to provide farmers a ready market for their produce.

He said NFA palay procurement shall be done on a year-round basis, with all personnel, logistics and procurement funds made available anywhere in the country where NFA operates, at any given time.

Following Presient Duterte’s directive to source its buffer stocks from domestic harvest, the NFA has embarked on aggressive procurement operations as farmers take advantage of the bigger incentives offered by the government.

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