NFA assures availability of cheap rice in Ilocos
By Freddie G. Lazaro
Vigan City (September 24) -- The National Food Authority (NFA) assured last Wednesday the continuing availability of affordable rice supply for sale in its accredited retail outlets in Ilocos region and some provinces in Cordillera region even beyond the lean months period this year.
"NFA rice is still available at P25.00 per kilogram. The high volume of rice in the market brought about by the agency's stock positioning and the flooding of rice in the market has created an ample supply and provided affordable rice that is available in consumer markets," NFA Region I Director Efren J. Sabong said in a press interview.
"It is the onset of the lean months when price of the rice staple is expected to rise because farmers are still in the thick of tending their farms but the NFA guarantees the public the availability of affordable rice sold at P25.00 per kilogram in all accredited outlets, he added.
Lawyer Sabong disclosed that it is during the months of July to September that prices of the rice staple in the market become jittery because of speculations on production and the availability of stocks to meet the demands of the consumers.
But, he said, early stock positioning and the procured palay from the farmers during the summer cropping season are keeping the price of the staple at bay.
At present, Sabong said that the NFA in the region has a total of 3.267 million bags of rice in its warehouses distributed across the region including the provinces of Abra and Benguet.
With a daily consumption requirement of 53,620 bags, Sabong said that this inventory is good for 61 days or until the 1st quarter of the coming year based on daily average sales.
NFA rice is sold through the agency's regular outlets and the Bigasan sa Barangay Outlets spread across the region. To date, NFA has accomplished around 62 percent of its distribution target as it continues to distribute affordable rice to its 1,709 accredited outlets in its jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, the agency is in full preparation for the coming of the procurement season for the year's main cropping season which usually starts in October.
Director Sabong said that the agency will continue to buy palay from farmers, either individual or cooperatives, at the government support price of P17.00 per kilogram.
He however, cautioned farmers to sell only dry and clean palay so that they can avail of the government support price of the cereal.
He explained that the reason why farmers couldn't avail of the P17.00 per kilogram price was because they sell their produce even if they have very high moisture content.
"When we say clean and dry, the moisture content of the palay should be at 14 percent", Sabong said. "If the palay sold to us has higher moisture content than 14 percent, naturally, the buying price will correspondingly decrease", he added.
The agency's procurement program not only helps in boosting the buffer stock of the agency but also serves as a ready market for the harvests of the farmers offering them a higher buying price resulting in a higher return of investment for their produce. (PIA Ilocos Sur) [top]