NFA will focus on its palay-buying mandate at local market in 2019

Published November 26, 2018, 3:48 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Mario Casayuran

The State-owned National Food Authority (NFA) is not allowed to import this coming year but will focus on its palay-buying mandate at the local market with P7 billion budget for the coming 2019 fiscal year, the same as in 2018.

Senator Cynthia Villar (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Cynthia Villar
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Coming out of a committee hearing on the proposed P7 billion budget for NFA in the 2019 fiscal year, Sen. Cynthia A. Villar, chairwoman of the Senate subfinance committee ‘’B,’’ said the NFA would not be allowed to use its budget to pay its loans ‘’but will focus on buffer stocking which they will buy from local farmers.’’

Villar said the NFA would break even if it buys P17 per kilo of palay and sells it as rice at P30 after going through the milling process costing P25 where 65 percent of the palay is retrieved.

After having received a report from the Department of Agriculture (DA) on various issues raised by opposition Sen. Francis N. Pangilinan, Villar said she would submit her committee report to Sen. Loren Legarda, overall chairwoman of the Senate finance committee, for a possible plenary debate on Monday.

After sitting on the budget after approving it on second reading early last month, the House of Representatives leadership approved its version of the budget on Nov. 20 and transmitted it recently to the Senate.

Villar agreed with the view of Senate leaders that the Upper House could not possibly pass its version of the proposed 2019 P3.757-trillion national budget (General Appropriations Act or GAA) before the Senate goes into a month-long Christmas break starting December 14.

It is then very likely that government would be operating on a reenacted budget for one month in 2018 starting January, she said.

NFA officials testified that the first 250,000 metric tons of rice if imported under a government-to-government procurement scheme would be arriving not later than December 31 while another 250,000 metric tons of rice would be arriving in late January 2019.

Another 250,000 metric tons would be bid out tomorrow, they added.’