MANILA, Philippines – Due to a tightness in the supply of palay as a result of drought damage, the National Food Authority (NFA) has raised slightly its support price for palay to P17.70 per kilogram inclusive of drying, transport and cooperative development incentives.
This has allowed the NFA to purchase a total of 962,655 bags as of the third week of March.
For January, the NFA bought 489,114 bags, 339,543 bags in February and 133,998 bags by the third week of March.
The agency is targeting to buy 696,900 bags for April, the peak of summer harvest.
For the same period last year, the NFA was able to buy some 1.2 million bags of palay
NFA Administrator Jessup P. Navarro said with the present tight supply of the commodity, the agency’s active buying has provided heightened competition with traders resulting in firmer prices and benefiting the farmers.
Farm level price of palay currently averages P16.82 per kilo.
It was P16.07 per kilo during the same period last year, an improvement of P.75 per kilo or P37.50 per bag of 50 kilograms.
The NFA buys clean and dry palay at P17.70 per kilogram inclusive of drying, transport and cooperative development incentives. The grant of these incentives brings the agency’s effective palay buying price to P885 per 50-kg bag.
According to Navarro, aside from enjoying a high ex-farm price for their produce, farmers at present have the option to either immediately sell their produce or to wait for the price to appreciate further.
Also, those farmers who planted their crop early were spared from the ill effects of El Niño and produced clean and dry palay that could command higher price while incurring minimal expenses.
The NFA is buying at an average of 8,960 bags daily.
Southern Tagalog posted the highest volume of palay procured with 458,570 bags most of these coming from Occidental Mindoro totalling 223,270 bags.
Procurement is also high in the Ilocos Region with 167,893 bags mostly from La Union and Western Pangasinan.
The Bicol Region has also registered high procurement volume at 151,133 bags mostly bought from Camarines Sur.
NFA is also active in Central Mindanao with 53,370 bags bought so far, 34,512 bags coming from Sultan Kudarat.
The NFA has set this year’s palay procurement target at 11.7 million bags. –Marianne V. Go (The Philippine Star)