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Monday, June 24, 2024

NFA okays P10-b plan to address rice problems

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THE National Food Authority (NFA) has approved a proposed P10-billion modernization plan, aimed at addressing critical challenges in rice procurement and storage capacities.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel clarified how the modernization plan will address the dearth in post-harvest infrastructures.

He said rice storage is one of the biggest problems of the rice industry. “We don’t have enough post-harvest facilities.” 

The NFA admitted its own deficiency in creating more drying aft storage facilities.

Drying capacity, crucial for preserving rice after harvest, has declined significantly, dropping from 80 percent in the mid-80s to a mere 5 percent at present. This modernization plan seeks to improve drying capacity to 180,000 metric tons (MT).

Previous estimates suggested that a total investment of P93 billion is needed to achieve a national post-harvest capacity of 90 percent. 

NFA administrator Larry Lacson said the initial project represents a crucial step towards strengthening the NFA’s ability to manage a national rice buffer stock.

To ensure the project’s smooth execution, the NFA Council appointed Mario Andrada, a 41-year NFA veteran, as the new deputy administrator. Andrada will head the agency’s bids and awards committee.

In its accomplishment report, the NFA said it has failed to meet its palay procurement target for the month of February, after procuring about 12,378 bags of palay, or the equivalent to 618.9 MT of the grain.

The volume is only 2.28 percent of the NFA’s target of 542,800 bags or 27,140 MT of palay for the month.


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