National Food Authority Region 6 manager Dianne Silva is urging the local farmers to sell their produce to the agency to build up adequate buffer stocks as the global health emergency continues.
“We are inviting our farmers to sell their clean and dry palay with 14 percent moisture content to NFA at P19 per kilogram. More than one million bags of palay that we purchased in 2019 had significantly helped the relief operations of the government agencies when lockdown happened because of the pandemic,” she said.
NFA is now on an aggressive procurement drive to help stabilize the price of palay at this peak of the harvest season, and also to make cheaper yet quality rice available to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, local government units, and other organizations for their rice subsidy distribution.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development is buying NFA rice for only P1,250 per bag that is lower than the commercial rice, according to Silva.
With enough buffer stocked rice from 2019 procurement, NFA in Region 6 was able to supplement the rice shortage in the regions of Central and Eastern Visayas, she said.
This November, the local NFA will be sending rice supply to Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, and Jolo in Mindanao to augment their supply.
As the price of palay plunges to as low as P10 per kilo in some areas in the region, the NFA opens its 27 palay buying stations and warehouses in the region to provide rice farmers the right compensation for their labor and high production costs, she said.
LGUs in Western Visayas are offering transport vehicles to farmers who cannot bring their harvested palay to NFA warehouses. They are
also devising programs to help facilitate continuous and smooth procurement transactions with the NFA.
Farmers in Aklan were able to sell 23,376 bags to NFA, Antique – 20,987 bags, Capiz – 63,268 bags, Iloilo and Guimaras – 241,815 bags, and Negros Occidental – 20,041 bags when harvest season commenced in September.
Not all NFA buying stations, however, have drying facilities, she said, adding that she advised the farmers to have their palay dried before delivering to the NFA warehouses. In warehouses with solar dryers, farmers can avail of the palay drying service for free.
Meanwhile, Negros Occidental provincial agriculturist Japhet Masculino said that local rice farmers can dry their fresh palay for free at the provincial government-owned Rice Processing Center in Bago City.