DA eyes aggressive palay-buying, stable prices in 2020
Agriculture Secretary William Dar has ordered the National Food Authority (NFA) to spend up to P14 billion to buy more palay this year from the farmers.
"Starting this 2019-2020 dry season, we will buy aggressively from farmers, at P19 per kilo," Dar said in a statement on Sunday.
"We have instructed NFA administrator Judy Dansal to go all-out and make full use of its P7-B annual procurement budget and roll it over by at least twice or up to P14B to serve and benefit more farmers," he added.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) expects a "more vibrant" palay-buying and rice trading activities this year as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will distribute P600-worth of NFA rice instead of cash every month to each of the benficiart of its Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, Dar said.
"The DSWD intervention is worth P31 billion annually, which is a substantial amount that could help prop up palay prices," the official said.
He also cited that the major provincial governments and big farmers' federations are expected to continue to engage in palay buying and rice marketing operations.
"Just like last year, we expect about 30 major rice-producing provinces, led by Isabela and Nueva Ecija, to again buy palay directly from their farmers. They commit to allot an initial P6 billion for the purpose," the DA chief said.
He noted that several farmers' federations like in Isabela, Cagayan, Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija will buy at least P2-billion worth of palay from their members.
"In all, this year we are looking at an initial P53 billion from the public sector--composed of the NFA, DSWD, provincial LGUs and farmers' federations--to buy palay at favorable prices," Dar said.
Last year, local farmers complained about the low prices of palay, reaching to as low as P6 per kilo, after the government started implementing the rice tariffication law. DMS