MANILA, Philippines – The National Food Authority (NFA) has increased its procurement of local farmers’ yield in the first quarter of 2019 by 6,149% higher than last year.
According to the agency’s first quarter report, the NFA has procured a total of 1.26 million sacks of palay from local farmers, from January to March.
This is way higher from the mere 20,540 bags procured in the same period last year.
NFA Officer-in-Charge Tomas Escarez noted that the agency was able to offer a much more reasonable deal with the local farmers.
“We are not surprised though because March is the start of the summer crop harvest and we were able to capitalize on our higher incentives versus the low buying price of palay traders.
While traders reduced their buying price to as low as P14.00/ kilogram, we on the other hand increased our buying price up to P20.70/ kg for clean and dry palay,” Escarez said.
Based on the NFA data, highest palay procurement as of March 31 by the NFA branches were recorded in Tarlac, Isabela, Occidental Mindoro, North Cotabato, Nueva Ecija, Sultan Kudarat, Bulacan, Bataan, Cagayan and Ilocos Norte.
Meanwhile, Escarez said the agency is now preparing for more palay procurement in the next two months in view of the dry season.
NFA also increased its previous target of palay procurement from 7.78 million bags to 14.46 million bags for 2019.
This is in accordance with the NFA’s new functions under RA 11203 or the Rice Trade Liberalization Law.
“NFA will continue to serve our farmers by buying their produce to ensure a reasonable return for their harvest especially now that farmers are suffering from the effects of El Niño and private traders are buying low,” Escarez said.
According to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, the locally produced rice will be out in the market by August when the stocks of imported rice are expected to be consumed. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)