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NFA to ramp up palay buying

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - September 29, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Food Authority will intensify its palay (unhusked rice) procurement as the harvest season commences to ensure stable prices and income for local farmers.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar has committed to maximize all of NFA’s resources to improve its operations and procurement performance this main harvest season amid criticisms that the government is inactive in its palay procurement activities.

“We continue to buy palay as high as P19 per kilogram, at 14 percent moisture content. NFA also offers to buy palay right at the barangay level,” Dar said.

“We want to intensify this scheme of rolling over NFA’s limited funds so we can achieve a ‘double-multiplier’ effect. So, from its P10-billion procurement fund this year, it could buy P20 billion-worth of palay,” he said.

The DA is also accelerating the modernization of the NFA’s drying and milling facilities so they could provide much-needed services for rice farmers.

Dar recently visited Nueva Ecija, the country’s top rice-producing province, which is supporting the DA after it allotted P2 billion anew this main harvest season to buy palay from farmer-constituents.

Last year, Nueva Ecija led all rice-producing provinces, with a total harvest of 1.95 million metric tons of palay, representing 10.4 percent of the country’s total palay yield of 18.81 million MT in 2019.

For her part, NFA administrator Judy Dansal said they buy palay even those falling below the required 14 percent moisture content. The buying price is computed in accordance with the current NFA equivalent net weight factor.

Dar has reiterated his commitment to beef up NFA’s buffer stocking capacity to 30 days from the current 15 days, which entails additional budgetary allocation for approval by Congress.

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