NFA to buy up to 30 million bags of palay
After breaking the million barrier in the first quarter, the National Food Authority (NFA) continues to buy more palay from farmers as harvest peaks this month. This, as the agency targets to buy as much as 30 million bags of unhusked rice to maintain a 30-day buffer stock.
“We are hoping that this will continue as we fulfil our mandated level of buffer stock. Our palay procurement activities will also continue for as long as there are palay farmers willing to sell to us, to give them a fair price for their palay produce,” NFA OIC-Administrator Tomas R. Escarez said.
According to Escarez, the agency is now shifting its focus to more aggressive palay procurement after the signing of the Rice Tariffication Law or RA 11203 and the subsequent signing of its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
“The IRR of the Rice tariffication Law or RA 11203 has already been signed and the role of the NFA has been refocused to buffer stocking. Based on the IRR, the NFA must now adopt a policy of maintaining a buffer stock equivalent to 15 to 30 days of the country’s national rice consumption, sourced from local farmers only. To be able to meet that, we have to buy around 15 million to 30 million bags of palay,” Escarez said.
Initial reports from NFA field offices show that NFA already procured a total of 1.86 million bags from January to April. Of that volume, 593,123 bags were bought this month, almost half of the 1.26 million bags NFA was able to procure in the first quarter of this year.
Highest volume of palay procurement this month were reported from the NFA provincial offices in Occidental Mindoro (San Jose), Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Mamburao, Northwestern Cagayan – Apayao (Allacapan), Tarlac, and North Cotabato.
Escarez is positive the agency will be able to achieve its goal to procure sufficient palay volume for buffer stocking as this year’s procurement is already much higher than in recent years.
NFA is currently buying at an average of 73,233 bags per day.