NFA not buying rice buffer from farmers
The National Food Authority said Tuesday it cannot buy buffer stocks from local producers because farm gate prices of palay have steadily increased as the dry harvest season peaks.
“This is good for the farmers who are enjoying higher income,” NFA said.
“But the National Food Authority cannot buy its target volume for buffer stocking because its P17.00/kg buying price is much lower than those offered by private traders,” the NFA said in a statement.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the average farm-gate price of palay in the first week of February stood at P18.15 per kilogram and and rose to P18.60/kg in the last week of March.
Based on the prices monitored by the NFA field offices, as of March 31, 2017, the ex-farm price of palay (clean and dry) was highest at P22.60/kg and P22.50/kg in Tagum, Davao del Norte and Misamis Oriental, respectively.
NFA administrator Jason Laureano Aquino said the food agency was intensifying its palay buying activities, especially in rice producing areas, to beef up the food security stocks during the lean months.
“We have 413 buying stations strategically positioned nationwide and mobile procurement teams deployed regularly especially in far flung areas to accommodate farmers produce. Our cereal procurement fund and other logistical requirements were already in place. However, the higher prices offered by private traders to farmers make it difficult for us to buy more and hit our target,” Aquino said.
NFA buying price remains at P 17.00/kg for clean and dry.
The food agency gives an additional incentive of P0.20-0.50/kg for delivery, P0.20/kg for drying and P0.30 for the cooperative development incentive fund for farmers’ organizations.
The food agency plans to buy 4,607,350 bags of palay this year, and has so far bought 134,355 bags as of March 31, 2017 or 21 percent of the target in the first quarter.
Aquino said NFA found it hard to compete with commercial traders because of the high prices they offered, especially in traditional rice producing areas like Central Luzon, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, and Southern Luzon.