The National Food Authority (NFA) implemented on Monday a new and higher buying price for palay (unhusked rice) to help increase the country’s national rice buffer stock and eliminate the single pricing nationwide.

The price range is now set at ₱17 to ₱23 per kilogram for fresh or wet palay, and ₱23 to ₱30 per kilogram for clean and dry palay.

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

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. also stated that the adjusted price range would help the NFA meet its target purchase of 300,000 metric tons of rice for the year’s buffer stock.

“Well, it should help the farmers earn more money while we can do buffer stocking at least sa tail-end nung harvest na ito. Para dumami rin, maparami iyong stocks natin (of this harvest. So that we could increase, increase our stocks),” he said in a separate interview.

Before the price adjustment, the NFA’s buying price was pegged at ₱16 to ₱19 per kg for wet palay, and ₱19 to ₱23 per kg for dry palay, respectively.

Besides the adjusted prices, Lacson had earlier vowed to improve the quality of NFA rice to match that of commercial varieties.

In terms of NFA quality requirements, clean and dry palay must be at least 90 percent pure, with moisture not exceeding 14 percent; while fresh palay must have a moisture range of 22 to 29.9 percent. (PNA)