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NFA exceeds palay procurement targets, prepares for lean months

The National Food Authority (NFA) has already surpassed its palay procurement target for the first half of 2019 with more than five million bags bought since January, its newly installed administrator Judy Carol Dansal said.

As of June 19, the agency has procured 5.18 million bags or 258,519 metric tons (MT) of palay, 11 percent higher than its target for the six-month period.

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“We expect this to go even higher,” Dansal said in a statement. “This is a sign that we will be able to meet our buffer stocking requirement by yearend.”

The bulk of NFA’s purchases still mostly came from the country’s rice-producing provinces such as Mindoro, Nueva Ecija, Isabela, Bulacan, Cagayan, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.

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NFA Occidental Mindoro provincial manager Osmundo R.Guinto Jr., who leads the top procuring branch this year, said they were able to buy more produce from farmers compared to previous years because of the agency’s increased buying price at P20.70 a kilo coupled with the continuous downtrend in the rates offered by private traders, which were between P14 and P18 a kilo.

Even with the summer cropping season already winding up, NFA was able to buy a total of 401,847 bags of palay in the first two weeks of June, surpassing its target of procuring 261,000 bags for the month by 54 percent.

Dansal said the NFA had been preparing for the lean months of July to September when harvest was sporadic.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, the arrival of typhoons in the country traditionally spikes during those months, with August being the most active month for tropical cyclones.

“Without government rice importation, it is very timely that we are able to beef up our stocks. We will have sufficient supply of good-quality rice for the requirements of government relief agencies and local government units in any emergency or calamity that traditionally hit the country during lean months,” Dansal said.

“Hopefully, we will meet our buffer stocking requirement of 15 to 30 million bags,” she added.

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