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Group welcomes NFA plan to buy more rice from farmers

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MANILA – An alliance of food security advocates welcomed the announcement of National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Lito Banayo that the agency will buy more rice from farmers this year despite budget cuts. However, they urged NFA to procure palay (unmilled rice) from farmers on time and at a better price.

The Task Force Food Sovereignty (TFFS) said Tuesday that small rice farmers badly need a good price for their harvest after a series of calamities that struck them since typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009, the drought last year and the floods early this year.

Ed Mora of the Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magbubukid sa Pilipinas, TFFS member, said that most farmers have already given up hope that NFA will buy their palay on time and at a better price, minimum of P17 per kilogram, because NFA's palay procurement has, historically, been "too little, too late."

The farmer leader said that if NFA's promise comes true, rice farmers can at least have a breather from the successive losses over the last three harvest seasons.

TFFS Lead Convenor Arze Glipo said their alliance hopes that the pronouncement is not merely a media publicity to boost NFA's reputation after the recent news on its massive overpricing and over importation of rice over the last 10 years.

Glipo added that NFA should consider changing some of its palay procurement approaches so that more rice farmers can benefit.

Glipo cited the need for NFA to buy palay at the start until the peak, not at the end, of the harvest season. She explained that small farmers cannot hold on to their harvests very long because they need cash and they need to pay their loans immediately.

"If the NFA does not come at the right time, farmers will have no choice but to sell to private traders even at a lower price," Glipo said.

Glipo also cited the need to put up more palay buying stations and/or deploy more trucks so that farmers do not have to spend on transporting their harvest.

Aside from this, Glipo said that NFA should also ease its rule that the support price can only be given to palay with 14 percent moisture content because farmers do not have the facilities to dry the palay. -30-


Task Force Food Sovereignty (TFFS)

c/o Secretariat: Integrated Rural Development Foundation

87 Malakas St., Pinyahan, Quezon City 1100 Philippines; Telefax: +63.2.925.0987


Contact person:

Ms. Arze Glipo, TFFS Lead Convenor, +63.917.857.6203

Bobby Diciembre, Media Officer, +63.920.905.9856


15 January 2011


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