NFA resolves milling woes to ensure stable rice supply
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - April 19, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Food Authority has met with its rice milling contractors to guarantee unimpeded flow of government rice supply across the country.

“We cannot afford to let anything hamper our palay milling activities to continuously serve the rice requirements of the National Capital Region and of the other areas in the country during this time of crisis,” NFA administrator Judy Dansal said.

All milling contractors’ employees and laborers were issued identification cards by NFA as providers of essential services to be presented to checkpoints for their easy passage.

Their trucks, which haul palay for milling from NFA and deliver back rice recoveries, were also provided with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) stickers.

Dansal assured that the NFA has more than enough laborers in its warehouses, having hired tricycle drivers and other workers who, for the time being, have lost their regular livelihood due to the strict lockdown policies.

On the procurement of the mills’ fast-moving parts and other consumables, Dansal said she would recommend to the IATF to allow Manila-based suppliers of the needed rice mill spare parts to operate.

The NFA shall also issue a certification to be presented to the checkpoints, for the unimpeded transport and purchase of parts needed for the immediate repair of rice mills.

On the sale of rice by-products which serve as NFA’s payment-in-kind for milling services, Dansal said the NFA has already made adjustments in the “guaranteed milling recovery” to help rice millers recoup their lost income.

“We shall also recommend to the IATF to make representations with the Department of the Interior and Local Government to advise the LGUs where the rice mills are located, to find places where the rice hull could be dumped, because right now there are no rice hull buyers,” she said.

“Our primordial concern now is the continuous, full-blast NFA palay stocks milling, for a safe level supply of rice for this current emergency,” Dansal said.

Since the declaration of the enhanced community quarantine, 100 percent of NFA’s rice sales went to government agencies, reaching close to two million bags of rice.

The government’s rice inventory currently stands at 7.69 million bags, good to last for 116 days or nearly four months, based on the agency’s 10 percent market share.

Meanwhile, NFA is stepping up its procurement of local palay (unhusked rice) as farmers continue to harvest their summer crop. Its 440 warehouses and buying stations are open daily, procuring an average of 20,052 bags per day.

From January to mid-April, the NFA had already bought 2.56 million bags of palay. The agency targets to buy 2.4 million bags in April and 1.6 million bags in May, and a total of 15.44 million bags for the whole year.

NATIONAL FOOD AUTHORITY
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