The National Food Authority (NFA) in Palawan is optimistic that it will reach its target of 100 percent of palay procurement by the third quarter of the year after failing in the first two quarters.
Nerilyn Conde, assistant NFA provincial manager, said they are aiming to procure 24,000 bags of palay from this month until September.
“Ang goal namin is to meet the 100 percent accomplishment. Hindi kami nag-aano ng 50 percent uli pero kung nasa actual situation na tayo, ina-assess na namin. Kaya ba natin ang 100 percent o kahit 75 percent man lang pero so far sa ngayon, ang ini-aim namin ay 100 percent pa rin,” she said.
From January to June, NFA Palawan has set a goal of 126,000 bags of unhusked rice to be accumulated through local procurement, however, only 21,650 bags were purchased which was just 17 percent accomplishment, Conde said.
NFA currently has 23, 569 bags of palay, including the 1,919 bags procured during the last quarter of 2018.
During the first quarter of 2019, NFA Palawan procured 15, 155 bags of palay out of its 56,000 and procured 6,495 bags of palay in the second quarter out of 70,000 bags.
Conde said their failure to reach their target was caused by the higher prices offered by traders and the impact of El Niño.
“Malaki ang effect ng El Niño natin. Hindi bumaba ‘yong buying price ng ating mga traders. Dahil sa effect ng El Niño, mababa ang production pero we are not supposed to speak on production kasi ‘yan ay DA (Department of Agriculture),” Conde pointed out.
As to the effect of El Niño, NFA had temporarily closed purchasing unhusked rice in Rizal since May 31 due to lack of palay.
Conde said they are still expecting that traders would lower their farm gate price in buying palay so the farmers would choose to sell their bags to NFA.
“Ongoing and planting season ngayon so after three to four months, yon ang harvest so ini-expect namin na ang magiging effect ay kung madaming bigas sa market, mababa ang presyo ng bigas so mababa rin ang presyo ng palay. Ina-anticipate namin na sana ay mababa ang buying price ng trader so ang mga farmer natin ay sa NFA,” Conde added.
The rainy season, could also affect the volume they could buy because many farmers prefer to sell their palay even in wet condition, she said.
NFA could not accommodate huge volumes because of the limited number of their mechanical dryers, she said.
Conde also said that the DA has already chosen cooperatives and associations as recipients of mechanical dryers.
She said that in preparation for the rainy season, the NFA ensure that their warehouses will undergo minor repair for small damages at the ceiling and roof.
She added that their personnel in Narra, Brooke’s Point, and Puerto Princesa are ready to procure.
The accumulated palay bags are going to be milled as additional rice stock yet no instructions have released in regards with the milling of the procured volume from Palawan.
The towns of Mamburao and San Jose are in their milling season, but the rest of the provinces in the region IV including CALABARZON at MIMAROPA have no order yet.
The agency will also distribute subsidized rice only until August because by September it should have zero inventory of imported rice.
In September, the NFA will focus on buffer stocking and it should have 15 days consumption requirement stock in times of calamities and disasters.
NFA Palawan will get its 60,000 supply from the milled rice bags from Mamburao, Mindoro.
“Supposed to be, ang stocks natin dito ay ma-dispose until August so by September, zero inventory na kami sa ating imported rice so yon din ang ating inaasahan na we will try our best na mapaubos ang ating stock,” she said.
As of now, NFA Palawan has 27,174 sacks of rice stocked in its warehouses.