NFA starts paying higher palay buying prices

THE National Food Authority (NFA) said Monday that it started paying the new, increased rates for procuring palay (unmilled rice), with prices paid to farmers varying by location.’’

“This is unique in a sense that provinces will have different prices depending on the conditions in the province such as prevailing farmgate price, remaining harvest, and most importantly the target palay procurement for the area,” NFA Acting Administrator Larry Lacson said in a statement.

The NFA Council, earlier approved the increased buying price for palay at P23 to P30 per kilogram (kg) for dry and clean palay and P17 to P23 per kg for fresh palay.

Clean and dry palay should at least be 90% pure and have a moisture content of no more than 14%, while fresh and wet palay must have a moisture range of 22-29.9%.

“The NFA Council had to raise buying prices for palay after prolonged high farmgate prices,” it said, citing the need to obtain supply in the face of competition from private traders.

Traders were reportedly buying dry palay at P27 to 30 per kg, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The old purchase prices for dry and wet palay were set last year at P19-P23 (dry) and P16-P19 per kg (wet).

“This new pricing scheme will mark a new era for NFA palay buying,” Mr. Lacson added.

The NFA said that it discontinued the one-price scheme for palay purchases to consider the support price provided by some local government units as an alternative to private traders.

The agency is required to maintain a buffer stock of rice of about 300,000 metric tons (MT), which is sufficient for nine days’ consumption.

The national inventory of rice declined 3% to 1.37 million MT, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.

Stocks held by NFA facilities declined 59.9% year on year to 41,290 MT. — Adrian H. Halili