The National Food Authority (NFA) in Eastern Visayas has procured 18,830 bags of palay (unhusked rice) from local farmers this cropping season, nearly triple than the volume purchased in the same harvest season last year.
NFA Eastern Visayas Regional Manager Arlene Tanseco said more farmers sell their produce to the government this harvest season due to low trading prices offered by millers.
“As of Oct. 20, we have already procured 18,830 bags for this cropping. The six provinces in the region recorded an average daily procurement of 1,903 bags or 95,000 kilograms. Our target for the month is only 7,300 bags based on the October 2019 actual procurement,” Tanseco told the Philippine News Agency in an interview Thursday.
The NFA buys clean and dry palay at PHP19 per kilogram, up from the PHP12 price set by private traders. Wet palay can be dried for hours in the compound of NFA buying stations through solar pavements.
“We offer our facilities to help our farmers dry their palay in the morning and sell it to us in the afternoon,” she added.
Earlier, the food agency has set up the new buying centers in strategic locations in the region –two in Ormoc City and one each in the cities of Tacloban and Baybay, Hilongos, and Alangalang, all in Leyte; Maasin City, St. Bernard, and Hinunangan in Southern Leyte; Bobon, Laoang, and Catubig in Northern Samar; Borongan City, Oras, and Guiuan in Eastern Samar; the cities of Catbalogan and Calbayog in Samar; and Naval town in Biliran.
These are on top of its six provincial offices acting as accredited buying centers.
Despite good performance in the second cropping season from May to October, Tanseco admitted they will not be able to meet the annual procurement target this year due to the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the first six months of 2020.
From January to Oct. 20, the NFA in Eastern Visayas just procured 35,328 bags.
The target for the entire year is 150,000 bags. (PNA)