BACOLOD City – Since January this year, no farmer in Negros Occidental had sold palay (unhusked rice) to the National Food Authority (NFA), according to Provincial Manager Frisco Canoy.
Palay procurement is one of the proactive measures of the government with the implementation of rice tariffication.
Canoy reminded rice farmers in Negros Occidental that NFA’s provincial office continues to procure palay for buffer stocking.
“Our buying stations are open anytime to buy their produce at a certain price,” he said.
The NFA offers a buying price of P20.70 per kilogram.
The current support price is P17 per kilogram plus an additional Buffer Stocking Incentive (BSI) of P3 and other incentives of P0.70 for delivery, drying and cooperative development.
An individual farmer can get up to P20.40 per kilogram while members of farmer-cooperatives can sell at a maximum price of P20.70 per kilogram of palay to the agency.
Canoy said that in last year’s first cropping season, NFA-Negros Occidental was able to procure a minimal volume of palay.
He noted that the lack of procurement between January and April can be attributed to the limited production during the first four months of the year.
Local farmers may have also opted to sell their palay to traders who have probably set a higher buying rate.
“We are also looking at the possibility that some farmers stored their product for consumption,” Canoy said.
He added that the limited production may also be associated with the prevailing effects of El Niño phenomenon.
Just this Feb. 14, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11203 which lifted import restrictions on rice to make the price of the staple commodity affordable for all.
The Rice Import and Export Liberalization Law has removed the regulatory functions of the NFA over international and domestic trading of rice and the agency can no longer act on licensing and registration of persons and entities engaged in the grains business, and collection of regulatory fees.
However, the NFA is mandated to implement buffer stocking mainly to ensure food security especially during calamities and emergencies. (PNA)