Some 435,000 bags of unhusked rice still need to be procured by the National Food Authority (NFA) in the second semester to hit its target in 2020.
NFA provincial manager Joseph Candava said that the local office has procured 115,000 bags during the first semester of 2020 and still has to buy 435,000 bags to reach the 550,000 bags target.
Candava said that drought and the late planting of farmers in some areas also affected their procurement in different towns of the province.
“Sa whole year na target ay 550,000, nakaka-procure pa lang kami ng 115,000 so meron pa kaming hahabulin na 435,000 bags so ganoon karami. Pero ang warehouse capacity ng palay, aggregate, nasa 300,000 so we need another 100,000 plus capacity sana. Iyon ang iwo-workout namin maghanap ng mga additional warehouses,” he said.
“Itong 16 warehouses ang ginamit namin nakaraan pero hindi naman lahat ‘yan ay ipapa-rent uli kasi minsan ginagamit din nila. Kapag ganon, hahanap na naman kami ng additional warehouses. But immediately kung mag-open ng procurement season, meron naman tayo NFA owned warehouses,” Candava added.
Candava said that NFA is conducting ‘Ugnayan’ meetings to farmers before the health crisis, however, due to restriction in large gatherings to contain the virus, the agency has to exert extra effort to talk with farmers to encourage them, he added.
“Yong 550 para sa amin ay mahirap ‘yon but still ang lagi namin ginagawa, lahat ng kailangan logistics ay pini-prepare namin earlier, ‘yon nga lang misan may mga reason din kasi katulad halimbawa na may mga lugar na nagkakaroon ng drought, nagiging late ang planting nila, misan may ganon,” he said.
He said that most of the farmers are now encouraged to sell their unhusked rice bags or palay to the agency with its competitive price of P19. NFA also seeks the help of the Provincial Farmers Action Council (PFAC) to discuss the programs of the agency and to roll out to farmers and cooperatives.
The NFA is set to open eight warehouses for the next procurement period aside from the agency owned warehouses in Puerto Princesa, Narra, and Brooke’s Point.
“Iyong logistical requirements like personnel, ‘yong pondo kailangan laging available pambili ng palay and yong warehouses. Iyan ang usual na logistical requirement natin at saka siyempre ‘yong trucks. Ang ginagawa namin ay lumalapit kami sa production areas. Meron tayong leased warehouses sa Taytay, Narra, Brooke’s Point and Quezon. Kapag nag-open kami ng warehouse ay sa heart of the area,” he said.
“Dati meron kaming ugnayan na gina-gather ‘yong mga farmer for meeting para i-inform sila sa programs ng NFA, this time hindi natin pwede gawin ‘yon dahil bawal ang large gathering. Ang gagawin namin ay pupuntahan namin isa-isa, kaya naman namin gawin, mag-i-exert lang kami ng extra effort,” he added.
In a breakdown given by NFA Palawan, most of the palay bags were procured from Taytay with 36, 027 bags; followed by 33, 350 bags from Narra; 19, 745 bags from Brooke’s Point; 15, 176 bags from Rizal; 11, 014 bags from Quezon; and 433 bags from Puerto Princesa with a total of 115, 745 bags. The total procurement figure will be subject to milling to be an additional rice supply of the local agency.
In 2019, NFA Palawan procured 234, 267 bags of palay out of 600,000 procurement target.
Currently, the local agency records 26,000 bags of rice stored in the warehouse and Candava said that local milling is still ongoing as additional stock for bags of rice.
“Ang Palawan, ang category natin ay self-sufficient tayo meaning lahat ng production natin dito is enough ay sa lahat ng consumption ng buong probinsya. Kung halimbawa, ‘yong mga private trader, bibili sila ng palay, kami bibili rin, kapag pinag-combine mo ‘yon, kaya noon pakainin ang buong probinsya, para sa buong requirement,” he said.
The agency also set to resume its distribution of NFA rice in public markets after its temporary stoppage in the month of June.