The National Food Authority (NFA) Palawan has assured a 15-day buffer stock of rice in the province and stated that it hopes to meet at least half of its 600,000 bag target in 2022.

Branch manager Dennis Mejico said that their agency had reached 50% of its goal for 2021 by buying 500,000 bags.

He also said the NFA buffer stock helped to release thousands of rice bags for Odette and COVID-19 responses by the government. Palawan has a daily consumption requirement of 9,300 bags of rice.

In an effort to attain the same record, the agency will push for the conduct of “Ugnayan,” or coordination with farmers for local procurement, which was temporarily stopped due to pandemic restrictions.

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“Kung may mangyari man, kayang pakainin ng NFA ang Palawan ng 15 days, based ‘yan sa ating daily consumption requirement na 9,300 bags per day. Ngayong second semester, magsasa-start na kami uli ng milling operation. Ang mga napamili noong nakaraang cropping season, main crop and nitong summer crop, gigilingin na namin ‘yan for buffer stocking lang,” Mejico said.

The province of Palawan is categorized as self-sufficient in rice by the central office of NFA, Mejico said. It is set to ship supplies of rice bags to the province of Quezon this May.

He added that NFA assures milling unhusked rice within six months and disposing of rice bags within three months of storage.

On the other hand, even with the enactment of Republic Act 11203, or the Rice Tarrification Law, three years ago, Mejico said NFA is still experiencing its impact. There is still a restructuring of employees after the mandate of rice importation was removed.

“Nagkaroon kami ng restructuring, so almost 50 percent ng empleyado ng NFA, nabawasan kami halos. Iyong mga lumampas namin na kasamahan, nakatanggap sila ng separation package. Kung mapapansin niyo, maraming nawala sa amin na function under R.A. 11203, sa regulatory ng empleyado ay nawala na rin sa amin. Hanggang ngayon, ongoing ang restructuring. In fact, kami ng aming mga kasamahan ay inaasikaso pa rin ang aming appointment,” he said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.