MANILA, Philippines – The National Food Authority (NFA) said it bought 3.07 million bags of palay or unhusked rice from January to April 2019, a jump from 55,509 bags bought in the same period in 2018.
In a statement on Monday, May 6, NFA Officer-in-Charge Administrator Tomas Escarez said the agency was able to buy more palay due to the higher prices offered to farmers, as well as the adoption of “farmer-friendly” procedures.
Escarez was referring to the state grains agency’s move to simplify procurement procedures, such as only requiring a passbook as a form of identification, and payment schemes.
Farmers without a passbook can also sell up to 200 bags for the first time, the NFA said. Up to 7 hectares’ worth of production can be bought from individual farmers. (READ: NFA buys more palay in Q1 2019)
“We have 303 buying stations and terminal warehouses strategically positioned nationwide especially in rice-producing areas to accept palay deliveries from farmers,” Escarez said.
The NFA also increased its maximum cash payment to P300,000 for individual farmers and cooperatives which will be paid on the same day. Payments exceeding this amount up to P500,000 will be paid in check.
The agency was reduced to simply maintaining the buffer stock after the passage of the rice tariffication law. It has to keep 15 days’ worth of stocks at any given time and 30 days’ worth of stocks during lean season. (READ: What’s inside the IRR of the rice tariffication law?)
The NFA is also mandated to buy palay at P17 per kilogram (kg), but another P3 per kg is added as a buffer stocking incentive. The agency will also add P0.20 per kg for drying and delivery incentives.
Another P0.30 per kg can be added as cooperative development incentive fee.
This adds up to P20.40 per kg for individual farmers and P20.70 per kg for cooperative members who sell clean and dry palay to the NFA, higher than the average farmgate price which has been on a decline.
As of the third week of April, the Philippine Statistics Authority recorded the average farmgate price for palay at P18.48 per kg. – Rappler.com