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DA pushes higher budget for NFA
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the NFA needs more investments especially in the establishment of more milling facilities.
The STAR/ File

DA pushes higher budget for NFA

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - April 15, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA)wants a bigger budget for the National Food Authority (NFA) to ensure enough buffer stock of the country’s main staple.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the NFA needs more investments especially in the establishment of more milling facilities.

Under the Rice Tariffication Law, NFA’s role has been limited to maintaining buffer stock through local procurement.

“When you have a 30-day buffer stocking, the budget should not only be P7 billion. This is one of those proposals that we submitted –  to add more budget to the NFA,” Dar said.

“We need more warehouses. We lack milling facilities,” he said.

The NFA has limited milling facilities and once it buys palay (unhusked rice) from local farmers, it still pays commercial millers for the service.

“I don’t want that to continue. I want NFA to have their own milling facilities in the future,” Dar said.

He noted that the payment for commercial millers could be used to procure more palay.

As of the end of March, the NFA had already bought 2.3 million bags of palay. For the whole year, the agency targets to buy 15.4 million bags.

Last month, Dar said NFA would spend nearly P15 billion to purchase local palay this year as the government ramps up procurement to help farmers cope amid the declining prices of palay.

For this summer harvest season, NFA has allocated P4.9 billion for palay procurement.

A bigger budget of P9.7 billion, meanwhile, has been earmarked for the main harvest season starting September.

More farmers are selling to NFA due to its current support price of P19 per kilogram.

DA NFA WILLIAM DAR
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