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PIA Press Release

Market flooded with NFA rice; less queuing in rice stalls in Samar

By Ninfa B Quirante

Catbalogan City (21 August) -- There is now an ample supply of rice to Samar province and that there is less queuing in the market stalls as observed in the Catbalogan City Public Market.

In an interview with Samar National Food Authority Manager Francisca Mercado, she said that they have flooded the markets with enough rice in varying prices.

NFA rice prices range from P 18.25 to P25.00 and P35.00 to P38.00. Commercial rice meanwhile are priced P28.00 as the cheapest to P46.00 and beyond.

In Samar province, more parishes are given the Tindahan Natin sa Parokya outlets like St. Anthony de Padua Parish in Zumarraga, Holy Infant Parish in San Jose de Buan, Sacred Heart Parish in Almagro, St. Anthony de padua Mission area in Tagapul-an, Holy Infant Parish in Sto. Nino, St. James the Greater Parish in Sta.Margarita and Holy Infant Parish in Pagsanghan.

Very soon, NFA added that the parishes of Catbalogan, Paranas, Pinabacdao and Calbiga would also be operational.

In the national scene, Navarro said the NFA is putting up mobile procurement teams to serve farmers in remote and far-flung areas who find it hard to deliver their produce to the agency's provincial offices.

Most of the existing buying stations are stationary and located in the agency-owned and -leased warehouses, he said.

NFA will substantially increase its procurement volume this wet season to 500,000 metric tons by buying at the per-kilo support price of P17 that was set by President Arroyo earlier this year-or almost 50% higher than the previous rate of P12-and aims to do so with such incentives as giving a cash bonanza of P1,800 for every 50 cavans of palay that farmers will sell to the food agency.

The food agency's higher procurement volume and the P1,800 cash incentive will be funded by the President's "Katas ng VAT" subsidy program.

As a result of rice subsidies expected to reach P20 billion by yearend, the Arroyo administration has been able to guarantee poor consumers a sufficient supply of the staple food at the state-subsidized rate of P18.25.

It has also been selling well-milled stocks for the benefit of middle-income consumers at higher prices of P25 and P35 a kilo to pull down the cost of commercial, leading to retail prices going down to as low as P32 a kilo from last summer's price range of P40 to P50 in certain parts of the country.

In his report to Yap , Navarro said he is optimistic that the NFA would be able to reach its 500,000-MT procurement target as a result of the food agency's higher support price and the P1,800 incentive plan.

The NFA is buying clean and dry palay with 14% moisture content and a minimum of 95% purity at P17 per kilo. President Arroyo had directed the DA and NFA to adopt this higher palay support price at the start of this year's dry crop. (PIA-Samar) [top]

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