NFA, Pafmi step up grains procurement
Grain growers are getting further boost as the National Food Authority (NFA) and the Philippine Association of Feed Millers (Pafmi) are revving up their procurement of rice and corn even as the domestic economy continues to feel the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar in a statement said the NFA would also “go the extra mile” by picking up palay right at barangay centers instead of expecting farmers to bring the grains to NFA stations.
“We will continue to buy palay as high as P19 per kilo, at 14 percent moisture content, from farmers to assure them of bigger earnings, and if need be, pick up their produce at a designated area in their barangay,” Dar said.
“We have instructed NFA offices nationwide, through Administrator Judy Dansal, to offer transport services for farmers who cannot deliver their produce to the agency’s warehouses, and likewise avail of its drying facilities,” the agriculture chief added.
Further, to optimize the NFA’s palay procurement fund, the NFA was instructed to immediately mill the palay that was bought, and then sell the rice to local government units (LGUs) or offices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.Dar said that this way, the NFA can immediately roll over its funds to be able to buy more palay.
Also, Dar reiterated his call for governors of top 12 rice-producing provinces to help NFA buy palay directly from their farmer-constituents, and thus stabilize prices.
These provinces include Nueva Ecija, Isabela, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Iloilo, Camarines Sur, Tarlac, Negros Occidental, Maguindanao, Bukidnon, North Cotabato and Leyte.
Last year, the 10 provinces produced a total of at least 9.74 million metric tons (MMT) of palay, which represented more than half of the country’s total harvest of 18.8 MMT.
Separately, Pafmi president Nicole Sarmiento Garcia said the group was buying more local corn as reports of bumper crop from the ongoing harvest boosted the feed millers’ confidence in the availability of yellow corn. The grain accounts for more than half of the local feed formulation.Similar to palay, the Department of Agriculture is encouraging LGUs to help corn farmers in selling their produce either by linking the growers to direct buyers like the feed millers, or brokering the purchase deals. In light of this, Pafmi is drawing a memorandum of understanding with the provincial council of Isabela, through which harvest will be offered to millers and delivered to mills in Bulacan and Batangas.