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Food alliance welcomes NFA plan to buy more local rice

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Posted date: February 15, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—An alliance of food security advocates welcomed the announcement of National Food Authority (NFA) to buy more locally-produced palay even as it urged the agency to increase its farm gate prices.

The Task Force Food Sovereignty (TFFS) on Tuesday said that small rice farmers badly need a good price for their harvest following a series of calamities that hit the country’s agriculture sector.

NFA administrator Lito Banayo on Monday said the state grain agency intends to buy at least five percent of the country’s total rice stock this year from local farmers.

TFFS member Ed Mora of the Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magbubukid sa Pilipinas said that most farmers have given up hope that NFA will buy palay on time and at a better price because the agency’s palay procurement has, historically, been “too little, too late.”

The NFA buys local unmilled rice at P17 per kilo.

Mora said that if the NFA will be true to its promise, rice farmers can at least have a breather from the successive losses over the last three harvest seasons due to storms and drought.

TFFS lead convenor Arze Glipo said the alliance hopes that Banayo’s announcement is not merely a media publicity to boost the NFA’s image amid allegations of overpricing and over-importation of rice over the last 10 years.

Glipo said the agency should consider changing some of its palay procurement approaches to ensure that more rice farmers will benefit from government subsidized rice procurement.

The NFA, Glipo said, should begin buying palay from the start until the peak of the harvest seaso, and not at the end, saying that cash-strapped farmers cannot hold on to their harvests very long.

“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 deploy more trucks so that farmers do not have to spend on transporting their harvest.

Aside from this, Glipo said the NFA should also ease its increase its limit on palay moisture content, currently at 14 percent, saying that farmers do not have the needed drying facilities.




TFFS is a national muti-sectoral alliance working for reforms in the agriculture, food and trade policies to achieve food self-sufficiency and food sovereignty.  IRDF is the Secretariat of TFFS.


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