By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The National Food Authority (NFA) had so far bought as much 5.7 million bags of unhusked rice this year as there are still farmers selling their yields despite onset of lean months.
As of July 25, the NFA has bought 271,852 bags of palay, overshooting procurement target of 159,540 bags by 170 percent for the month. This brought the agency’s total palay procurement since January to 5.7 million bags.
This is despite the onset of the lean months of July to September, a period when palay harvest is very scant as natural calamities traditionally hit various parts of the country.
“Our procurement record, where we have been topping our targets since NFA’s mandate was revised to focus on local procurement for buffer stocking, shows that we have been effectively fulfilling our new role and helping farmers earn a reasonable income while consumers enjoy lower rice prices as a result of the rice import liberalization law passed early this year,” NFA administrator Judy Carol L. Dansal said.
The Rice Tariffication Law or Republic Act (RA) 11203 removed NFA’s rice importation function, and repealed its regulatory powers over the grains industry so that the agency could focus on buffer stocking for calamities and emergencies.
“The law stipulates that we can buy only from local farmers so we have stepped up our procurement. That’s why we’re exceeding our targets,” Dansal said.
The top 10 provinces where NFA was able to buy palay for the month of July are: Bulacan – 77,518 bags; Pampanga -41,899 bags; Isabela – 17,094 bags; Camarines Sur – 16,111 bags; Eastern Pangasinan – 16,110 bags; Ilocos Norte – 14,086 bags; Nueva Ecija – 12,324 bags; Cagayan – 9,958 bags; Nueva Vizcaya – 7,341 bags and Kalinga Apayao – 7,077bags.
Another factor that allows NFA to successfully carry out its procurement functions is the adjustment in NFA palay buying incentives.
Effective October 2018, the NFA Council approved an additional P3.00/kilo buffer stocking incentive (BSI) on top of the NFA’s P17/kg support price and up to P0.70/kg for drying, delivery and cooperative development incentives.
With the additional BSI, an individual farmer can earn as much as P20.40/kg and farmer cooperatives up to P20.70/kg for clean and dry palay.