BACOLOD City – The National Food Authority (NFA) will soon start supplying rice to over 118,376 beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Negros Occidental.
NFA provincial manager Frisco Canoy said they would need almost 2.4 million kilograms of rice to meet the requirement of 4Ps beneficiaries in the province.
“We’re just waiting for the guidelines from the central office so we can start supplying the 4Ps beneficiaries,” Canoy added.
The distribution of actual rice instead of cash for the rice subsidy component of the program is a collaboration among the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Agriculture (DA), and NFA.
Under the program, the NFA will supply 20 kilograms of “quality” rice to all 4Ps beneficiaries in Negros Occidental every month, which translates to a monthly requirement of 47,350 bags or almost 2.4 million kilograms.
Canoy said the program will help rice farmers as it will provide a sure market for their produce.
“Local farmers will be encouraged to plant and sell their produce to the NFA because there’s already a buyer,” he added.
Western Visayas is one of the six pilot-regions of the program.
During the implementation, the P600 monthly rice subsidy for each 4Ps beneficiary will be downloaded to the NFA and will no longer be included in the cash transfer through the bank’s automated teller machine.
The program is expected to start this month, but NFA-Negros Occidental has yet to receive the final guidelines on distribution, storage, among others.
Canoy said storage can be a problem given such a huge volume of rice needed.
In southern city of Kabankalan, for instance, there is no available warehouse that can accommodate its requirement of about 3,000 bags.
Under the joint agreement, 4Ps beneficiaries will be provided with rice which costs P30 per kilo.
“The market retail price of NFA rice is only P27 per kilogram so the excess might cover the delivery and storage costs although we don’t know yet,” Canoy said.
He further said that local government units can also establish warehouses.
NFA might hire job order workers since, Canoy added, saying the agency has no logistical and employee component for the new program.
According to Canoy, should the milling of the procured palay (unhusked rice) will not be in full swing yet, NFA’s existing import buffer stocks can be utilized for the 4Ps requirement.
“Existing stocks might be released first since our target is to zero-out the stocks subject to reconditioning before issuing to ensure good quality,” he said. (With a report from PNA/PN)