The National Food Authority (NFA) in Palawan admitted that they will have difficulty in procuring rice because local farmers prefer selling their harvests to bigger traders.
Engr. Alwin Uy, NFA provincial manager, said Wednesday they will not be able to meet the required buffer stock because farmers do not sell their rice to the agency anymore.
“Sa ngayon (local procurement) yon ang aasahan natin pero di kaya ng NFA Palawan yong aming required buffer stock kasi una, sanay ang mga farmer natin na magbenta sa traders. Karaniwan ng binibenta nila, basa, limited tayo mamili ng basa dahil don sa limited capacity to dry natin. Kokonti ang nabibili natin dito, halos sa traders sila nagdadala,” Uy said.
NFA Palawan does not have rice from local farmers yet as some are just beginning to plant while others are still waiting for the rice to dry.
The agency’s local branch lacks mechanical dryer and farmers sell their wet rice to traders who buy higher.
Additional mechanical dryers from the Department of Agriculture (DA) are still expected, but with no time constraints.
From January to present, NFA Palawan has procured more than 21,000 bags of palay which is expected to be milled after the bidding process.
NFA- Palawan has a target of 30,000 bags of palay to be procured every month, he said but they only bought over 5,000 bags of palay or about 19-24 percent of procurement accomplishment.
“Sa ngayon wala na tayo halos nabibili, halos planting pa lang yong iba, yong iba ay naghihintay pa lang din na mahinog yong palay ng iba,” Uy added.
Palawan has recently received the last shipment of 19,500 bags of imported rice from Myanmar as additional supply to the existing 23,624 bags in the warehouse.
NFA was ordered to sell subsidized rice only until the month of August and the accumulated number of unhusked rice will be milled as an additional supply for the agency to comply with its buffer stocking mandate.
“Actually, nagstart na kami ng test milling, hinihintay na lang namin na mag-bidding, ibi-bidding pa yan, nauna lang yong Occidental Mindoro, nakapag-bidding na sila, pre-bidding conference, opening of bids na lang sa October 7 ata, doon na mag-start ‘yong bidding ng Occidental Mindoro then to follow ‘yong ibang provinces na may palay,” he emphasized.
NFA is still waiting for an order if they can still sell NFA rice after August.
If the agency refrains from selling NFA rice after August, accredited retailing outlets in the province will also soon disappear and will be converted as regular retailers, Uy said.