Local farmers continue to struggle to satisfy the required moisture content of 14 percent when selling unhusked rice or palay due to a lack of dryers, according to the National Food Authority (NFA) of Palawan.
It’s more difficult, according to branch manager Dennis Mejico, especially during the rainy season. The NFA has only a few drying facilities, which are largely in the province’s southern towns.
“Kasi kapag may dryers na kami, matutulungan natin ‘yong mga magsasaka na doon na lang nila patuyuin at doon na lang ibenta sa amin. Lalo na kapag tag-ulan, hindi talaga sila makapatuyo, nakikita rito ko na kakulangan talaga,” he said.
To enhance farmers’ drying efforts, the agency recommended six mechanical dryers in Narra and two in Brooke’s Point. It will also encourage farmers to sell dry palay or palay with at least 14% moisture content, which is sufficient to maintain quality when palay is stored before grinding.
After the adoption of Republic Act (RA) 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law, the NFA’s main mandate is to assist the buffer stocking of rice through local procurement from farmers.
“Talagang nagiging problema ng farmers ay ang pagtutuyo ng palay nila. Sa part ng NFA, meron kaming ginawang proposal na magkaroon ng mechanical dryer sa Narra at Brooke’s Point– sa North kasi hindi tayo makapa-propose doon kasi wala tayong paglalagyan. Kinakausap namin ‘yong FAs don na kung pwede mag-donate sila ng lote para malagyan,” he said.
Farmers will be able to take advantage of the NFA’s P19 buying price rather than resorting to merchants who offer a lower price, according to the agency.
The NFA is also implementing its ‘Ugnayan’ initiative, which involves coordinating with local farmers in areas where its procurement centers are located, according to Mejico.
A NFA-owned truck is also used to transport the palay procured from farmers to the warehouse.