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NFA rice stocks as of end-May highest in five years

The National Food Authority (NFA) posted its biggest summer procurement in five years as it prepares for the onset of the lean months when palay harvest is almost nil.

The agency reported that from January to May, it was able to buy 238,427 metric tons (MT) of rice—a huge leap from the measly 3,571 MT it bought in the same period last year and the highest it has recorded in the last five years.

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“With so much stockpile of palay, we have already given the green light for NFA field offices to start their milling operations,” Acting Administrator Tomas Escarez of the NFA said.

He added that this was to ensure that there would be enough rice to go around for government relief agencies and local government units once an emergency or calamity hit the country at a time when palay harvest is scarce.

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According to the state weather bureau, the arrival of typhoons in the country traditionally spikes from July to September, with August being the most active month for tropical cyclones.

This explains why farmers do not plant during the period to avoid agricultural damage and losses.

“At the rate we are buying palay, we are optimistic the NFA will be able to effectively meet its buffer stocking requirements of rice supply good for 15 to 30 days or 15 to 30 million bags,” he added.

The grains agency has been ramping up its procurement operations following the passage of the new rice law. Its mandate has now been repurposed to solely procure from local palay farmers and maintain the country’s rice inventory at optimum levels.

As the buying price of palay continued to go down—dipping to as low as P13 a kilo in Nueva Ecija from a high of P25 last year—NFA has been attracting more farmers to sell their produce to the government.

NFA offers a buying price of between P20.40 and P20.70 a kilo for individual farmers and farmer cooperatives, including incentives for drying and delivery.

“We are happy that the more we buy, the more farmers gain higher incomes as farm-gate prices continue to dip. Our procurement operations are done on a year-round basis and we are ready to buy as long as farmers have palay to sell to us,” said Escarez.

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TAGS: National Food Authority, NFA
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