NFA allocates P7B to buy palay
The National Food Authority (NFA) has set aside P7 billion to buy palay from local farmers next year and beef up its rice inventory.
As provided by the Rice Tariffication Bill, which was recently approved by the bicameral conference committee, the state-run grains agency will no longer be allowed to import rice to increase its stocks.
However, it can still buy palay from local farmers at a standard price of P17 a kilogram plus some incentives.
Over the past decade, the grains agency has heavily relied on cheaper imported rice to beef up its reserves since it could not compete with private millers and traders in buying locally grown palay.
But this will change with the planned signing of the Rice Tariffication bill by President Duterte before the end of the year.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, who also heads the NFA, said the provision “is a welcome development not only for the Filipino farmers but also for top officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the NFA who advocate for a change in the image of the rice agency.”
The NFA came under fire this year for the depletion of its rice inventory that caused local rice prices to skyrocket to record highs and inflation to accelerate.
“For us in the DA who were not spared from intrigues in the highly profitable business of rice importation, this will be a welcome relief,” Piñol said.
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