CLARK FREEPORT – The National Food Authority has stepped up its palay procurement activity in the countryside, offering a more competitive buying rate and other perks to boost the market advantage of farmers not only in Central Luzon but also in other nearby regions, as well.
“The NFA people have been dispatched to various farmers’ organizations, local government units and individual suppliers as part of our intensified campaign in the procurement of palay to help farmers market their produce,” said Dr. Rafael Marasigan, NFA-Pampanga Provincial Manager.
Marasigan said the massive palay buying program is part of NFA’s response to the complaints of farmers against government rice importation.
Locally produced rice in Central Luzon is more than enough to cover the needs of the main staple.
Central Luzon has traditionally been considered the rice granary of Luzon, until fairly recently.
The prevailing buying price, Marasigan said, is PhP17 per kilogram much lower than that of the commercial buyers, at P25 per kilo.
Marasigan said NFA offers perks to farmers, such as transport – P0.10 to P0.50 per kilo depending on the distance; drying fee incentive of P0.20 per kilo; and P0.30 per kilo if the produce is sold through of farmer’s cooperative.
“From time to time, our people go on marketing missions meeting with individual farmers and cooperatives to share with them this kind of government program,” Marasigan said over the phone.
Speaking at the October edition of Pampanga Press Club monthly forum “Talk Widus” held at the Widus Hotel and Casino, Marasigan earlier announced that the NFA’s intensified palay buying mode is intended to satisfy the needs of local growers in their market.
He also assured consumers of having enough rice supply. “We have a buffer stock that covers at least 15 to 30 days.”
Marasigan said the government has acquired 250,000 metric tons of rice through importation and 240,000 bags have been allocated to the Region 3 provinces.
For Pampanga, Marasigan said, NFA has allocated a total of 65,000 bags of rice are stored in two warehouses in Metro Manila ready for issuance if required.
“It will be delivered to the province as soon as the need arises,” said Marasigan.