NFA Buys More Rice

Aiming to help poor farmers to sell their harvests at a much higher price, the National Food Authority (NFA) here is gearing up to buy 100,000 bags of palay this cropping season.

This figure is thrice as much as its regular procurement program in the past years, bared NFA Bohol assistant manager Ma. Fe Evasco during an interview over dyRD's top-rated Inyong Alagad.

The NFA will also be giving a P1,800 incentive to farmers for every 50 bags of palay harvested this season.

While private commercial buyers are reportedly buying at about P12 per kilo, the NFA will purchase it at a higher price Evasco said.

"Wed like to inform our farmers that that the NFA is buying at P17 a kilo and we are also offering P1,800 fertilizer cash incentive for every farmer who can sell 50 bags at one time," Evasco announced.

The P17 per kilo is the standard government support price for farmers, Evasco explained. This is even as reports last week bared that commercial buyers have started buying palay stocks at P12 a kilo.

"We have mobile procurement and stationary buying stations at our warehouses where farmers can deliver or sell their products, but unluckily, [unlike the commercial buyers,] we can not give out cash advances because it would be against government auditing rules," she emphasized.

A farmer whose palay grains approximate 97% purity and 15% moisture content can sell it at P17 while the NFA adjusts its standard buying price if the quality is low, Evasco hinted.

This as the government even more incentives to farmers who would opt to go for certified rice and hybrid and tested high yield varieties, Evasco pointed out.

Over the tihap system, Evasco explained that farmers who get an early cash advance from commercial buyers are at the mercy of them who now demand low buying price.

According to her, only private buyers with NFA accreditation are legally allowed to engage in rice buying. But, she also admitted there is no law banning commercial buyers from offering P12.

If commercial buyers offer prices higher than the government support price, it would be beneficial to the farmers. But below the support price, the government can be an option for farmers, she bared.

She also blamed the tihap, a crude cash advance strategy which binds farmers into selling their harvest low to the commercial buyers who earlier, lent them cash.

The situation has also alarmed Governor Erico Aumentado who directed Provincial Administrator Tomas Abapo to investigate the widespread sabotaging of palay buying prices by private rice buyers.