By Manny Balbin
CITY OF MALOLOS, BULACAN — The National Food Authority (NFA) in Bulacan has started procuring newly harvested palay from farmers in the towns of Balagtas and San Miguel.
Acting NFA provincial manager Ed Camua said on Monday that they already started buying palay for this cropping season at P19 per kilo for clean and dried palay.
This, however, is lower compared to the previous buying price of P20.40 for individual farmers and P20.70 for cooperatives.
Meanwhile, wet palay with 30 percent moisture content is priced at P14 per kilo.
Camua asked the farmers to sell only clean and dry palay since the NFA in this province has only four available drying facilities that can dry a total of 400 bags per day in its San Miguel warehouse.
Piolito Santos, NFA regional director for Central Luzon, likewise encouraged farmers to dry first their produce before selling it to the grains’ agency.
“However, they may also avail of the NFA’s limited number of drying facilities and pay the drying fee that ranges between P60 to P80 per bag,” Santos said.
He admitted that the NFA drying facilities in Central Luzon are not enough to accommodate the volume of fresh palay that the farmers want to be dried in their facilities especially during the wet cropping season.
Camua also asked the farmers to bring first a sample of their produce so that the NFA can get its moisture content.
“Through that way, farmers will know if their produce passed the moisture content requirement,” he said.
To solve the farmers’ problem in drying their crops particularly this wet season, Camua encouraged them to coordinate with the local government officials, who could, in turn, help their cooperatives by asking the DA to provide them with drying facilities.
He said the cooperatives and its members will have a chance to earn through drying farmers’ produce and at the same time, help disseminate the programs of the government for the agriculture sector.
“NFA-Bulacan is targeting to procure 200,000 bags of palay for this coming month of October and, at the same time, is eyeing to dispatch to the public 150,000 of imported rice in their warehouses,” Camua said.
To clear the NFA warehouse and provide space for the palay that the NFA-Bulacan is targeting to procure, Camua said they are transferring 30,000 bags of their imported rice to the grain agency’s Iloilo warehouse and another 20,000 bags to the Catanduanes storage facility.
Camua said as of now, the NFA-Bulacan has 600,000 bags of palay stocked in its warehouses that are scheduled to be milled this coming October. (PNA)