New measures to make NFA more responsive

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    New measures will be implemented to make the National Food Authority (NFA) more responsive and effective under the regime of Rice Tariffication Law, according to William Dar, secretary of the Department of Agriculture chief and NFA Council (NFAC) chair.

    Dar said foremost of these measures is the renewal of NFA’s credit line with the Development Bank of the Philippines and Landbank of the Philippines.

    The NFAC approved the revised corporate operating budget of NFA for 2019, as its mandate was re-crafted; palay procurement target was also increased from 389,000 metric tons (MT) to 1.140 million MT to meet a 15-day buffer stock.

    Dar said NFA’s organization was restructured, with budget allotted for the separation package of retiring employees as well as the hiring consultants to recommend optimal buffer stocks.

    But he said the agency will no longer divest its properties and warehouses as these could be used for buffer stocking.

    The NFA will reduce its selling price of NFA rice to P25 per kilogram (kg.) to other government agencies including the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Bureau of Corrections, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and local government units.

    For accredited retailers, selling price was also adjusted to P23 per kg. from the previous P25 per kg. but theretail price will remain at P27 per kg. to increase the profits of retailers while improving the movement of rice stocks.

    The new policies also allow NFA to supply rice worth P600 to Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries as palay buying stations were almost doubled to 558 from 311 to focus on the top 10 rice-producing provinces including Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Cagayan, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Iloilo, Camarines Sur, Negros Occidental, North Cotabato and Zamboanga del Sur.

    More active buying activities will also be done in Oriental and Occidental Mindoro and other traditionally high rice-producing areas as LGUs will also be coordinated for their gymnasiums to be utilized as NFA rice warehouses.

    Last September, DA ordered NFA to flood the market with 3.6 million bags of rice until October, in hopes to bring down the prevailing market price of rice to match the NFA’s P27 per kg.

    The agency also recently approved to increase the P17 per kg support price procurement for clean and dry palay to P19 per kg. However, the P3 per kg buffer stocking incentive, P0.20 per kg drying incentive; P0.20 per kg delivery incentive and P0.30 per kg as cooperative development incentive fee were abolished to allow the government with more leeway in buying more palay.