The National Food Authority has not let up in its palay procurement, piling up a total of four million bags in less than five months.
Reports from the NFA’s Grains Marketing and Operations Department show that from January to May 20, the agency was able to procure a total of 4.025 million bags.
NFA OIC-Administrator Tomas Escarez said that NFA’s procurement started slow in January with 155,107 bags, and only 123,283 in February.
By March, the start of summer crop harvest, NFA increased its procurement to 994,932 bags, followed by 1,804,136 bags in April. As of May 20, the monthly total has now reached 954,142 bags, according to the agency’s official statement.
Capitalizing on the low buying price of palay by private traders, NFA is buying more this year, easily eclipsing last year’s January-May procurement of 71,420 bags by 5,636 percent.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the average farmgate price of palay remains at P18.45/kg as of May 17. The price level is P2.53/kg or 12 percent lower than the average farmgate price (P20.97/kg) of palay in the same period last year.
Highest volume of palay procurement this year were reported from the NFA branches in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro with 541,865 bags; Nueva Ecija—431,792; Isabela—426,827; Bulacan—297,506; Tarlac—205,144; Northwestern Cagayan-Apayao (Allacapan) —195,500; Mamburao—169,125; North Cotabato—167,735; Cagayan—135,440; and Sultan Kudarat—99,492.
Escarez said the agency continues to focus on aggressive palay procurement from local farmers after the signing of the rice tariffication law or RA 11203 and the subsequent signing of its Implementing Rules and Regulations that mandates NFA to focus on local procurement for buffer stocking for calamities and emergencies.
NFA procurement program also helps farmers recover their expenses, now that most traders are buying lower than the government support price.
“More farmers are selling to NFA because we have increased our effective buying price, with the additional P3.00 per kilogram Buffer Stocking Incentive starting last October 2018, in addition to the previous P0.20/kg drying, P0.20/kg delivery, and P0.30/kg Cooperative Development Incentive Fee. This increased the agency’s maximum buying price for palay from P17.40/kg for individual farmers and P17.70 for members of farmer cooperatives/organizations to P20.40/kg and P20.70 per kg, respectively,” Escarez said.
NFA is also more aggressive in palay procurement because under the rice tariffication law, the agency can only source its buffer stock from local farmers.
“NFA under the new law is designed to source its stock from local farmers only. Since we need to have 15-30 million bags to fulfill our buffer stocking requirement, we have to procure more,” Escarez said.