DUTERTE OR­DERS IN­CREASE IN NFA BUY­ING PRICE FOR PALAY

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - NEWS - By Karl R. Ocampo @ko­cam­poINQ

Pres­i­dent Duterte has or­dered an in­crease in the buy­ing price of the Na­tional Food Au­thor­ity (NFA) for paddy rice (palay) de­spite op­po­si­tion from his eco­nomic man­agers.

In a post on Face­book on Tues­day, Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Em­manuel Piñol quoted Mr. Duterte as say­ing dur­ing the Cab­i­net meet­ing on Mon­day that the in­crease could boost the NFA’s buf­fer stock, which was wiped out ear­lier this month.

“He did not like a re­peat of what hap­pened re­cently when the coun­try’s rice agency went low on its buf­fer stocks which­ever led to a spike in the price of com­mer­cial rice in the mar­ket,” Piñol said.

Filipino farm­ers first

“Buy from the Filipino farm­ers first and if you could not find suf­fi­cient stocks to be bought at the price ap­proved by the NFA Coun­cil, that’s the time you source it through im­por­ta­tion,” Piñol quoted Mr. Duterte as say­ing.

At present, the NFA’s buy­ing price for clean and dry palay is P17 per kilo­gram, with ad­di­tional incentives of P0.20 to P0.50 per kg for de­liv­ery, P0.20 per kg for dry­ing, and P0.30 for palay sold by farm­ers’ or­ga­ni­za­tions and co­op­er­a­tives. This is the last price ad­just­ment since 2009.

The price is lower than prices of­fered by pri­vate traders to farm­ers, av­er­ag­ing P20 per kg, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est price re­port of the Philip­pine Sta­tis­tics Au­thor­ity.

Piñol said he wanted to in­crease the NFA buy­ing price by P3, which would help the agency com­pete with pri­vate traders. The pro­posal is sup­ported by in­dus­try groups, in­clud­ing Sama­hang In­dus­triya ng Agrikul­tura and Ban­tay Bi­gas.

But ac­cord­ing to Mercedita Som­billa, as­sis­tant sec­re­tary for Na­tional Eco­nomic and De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity and a mem­ber of the food se­cu­rity com­mit­tee tasked to study such pro­pos­als, an in­crease in the NFA’s buy­ing price would lead to “rel­a­tively huge price in­fla­tion.”

—JAMSTA. ROSA

SUB­STI­TUTE FOR NFA RICE Com­mer­cial rice from Nueva Ecija millers is sold by re­tail­ers at Barangay Com­mon­wealth in Que­zon City as sub­sti­tute for NFA (Na­tional Food Au­thor­ity) rice. Con­sumers, how­ever, say the rice is yel­low­ish com­pared with other...

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