THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has ordered the National Food Authority (NFA) to expand its procurement of palay, or unmilled rice, to help prop up weak farmgate prices.
During a visit to an NFA warehouse in Tarlac City on Sept. 14, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar also told rice farmers that they will be assisted in transporting their crop from their farms.
“We will continue to buy palay as high as Php19 per kilogram, at 14% moisture content, from our farmers to assure them of bigger earnings, and if need be pick up their produce at a designated area in their barangay,” Dar said.
The NFA with a buying price of Php19 intervenes in the market if farmers cannot get good prices from private traders. However, it does not have enough funds or storage space to buy the entire harvest.
NFA Region III Director Elvira Cruz Obaña said the regional office plans to purchase almost 1.75 million bags of palay from Central Luzon farmers between September and the end of the year.