NFA should raise its buying price for palay
Senator Nancy Binay on Wednesday urged the NFA Council to allow the National Food Authority to increase its buying price for palay from local farmers in order to immediately boost its rice reserve.
“Napipilitan pong bumili ng mas mahal na bigas ang ating mga kababayan dahil walangNFA rice na mabili sa mga palengke, kaya nananawagan po ako sa NFA Council na payagan na ang pagbili ng palay sa mas mataas na presyo upang ma-replenish angstock nito ng bigas ,” Binay said.
During the last Senate hearing on the issue of NFA rice last March 16, it was proposed that the NFA Council grant an additional peso to the existing NFA buying price.
However, the inter-agency body objected to the proposal, saying it would result to about P800 million in additional spending with no assurance that farmers would sell their palay to the NFA due to the higher buying price of rice traders.
The NFA at present buys palay from local farmers at P17 a kilogram, while middlemen and traders offer between P19 to P21 per kilo at farm gate prices.
But during the same hearing, Binay said that the proposed NFA buying price of PHP18 per kilo was “competitive.”
“Mahina ang bargaining position at hindi talaga makakapag-offer ang NFA ng magandang presyo sa ating local farmers kung ang kaya lamang nilang presyo ay P17 sa bawat kilo ng palay, ” she said.
She said that once the NFA be allowed to buy palay at P18 per kilo, local farmers would be more than willing to sell their harvests to the government.
“Kung makakayang tapatan ng NFA ang presyo sa farm gate, mas matutulungan pa natin ang mas maraming local farmers at mami-maintain natin ang required 30-day buffer stock,” she said.
The Grain Retailers Confederation of the Philippines claimed a shortage in NFA rice in Metro Manila as well as in the regions of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon (Calamba, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon).
If the reports are true, this will mark the first time since 1972 that the government has run out of subsidized rice to sell.
The NFA sells regular-milled rice at P27/kg and P32/kg for the well-milled variety.
On the other hand, comparable commercial rice varieties sell between P36/kg to P41/kg and even higher. (PR)