The National Food Authority (NFA) Council chaired by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. set on Monday a new price range for palay buying price in response to the changing production and market conditions with an aim of improving farmers’ income and ensuring sufficient supply of the staple.

“Nagtawag ako ng meeting ng NFA Council para tingnan ang paanong puwedeng gawin para ang presyo ng pambili ng NFA sa palay, ‘yung wet at saka ‘yung dry, ay kailangan nating tingnan dahil nagbago na ang sitwasyon,” President Marcos announced following the meeting of the NFA Council.

“At ganoon nga ang pinag-meeting-an namin at nag-decide kami na ngayon ang buying price ng NFA mula ngayon ay sa dry ay 19 to 23, ang wet ay magiging 16 to 19. Iyon ang naging desisyon ng mga NFA Council.”

The council came up with the new palay buying price range to give Filipino farmers better income, the President said, noting today’s reasonable palay production cost.

“So, mayroon na silang pagkikitaan. At bukod pa roon, nandiyan na ‘yung price cap para maikalma natin itong nangyayari sa rice prices,” the President said.

The originally proposed PhP20 and PhP25 buying price are just too high and will spike retail prices, according to the NFA, noting that with the new decided price range, it balances the profit of farmers and will not affect the retail prices as much.

The agency said that if new buying price of dry palay is at PhP23, the procurement fund needed will be Php15 billion at the maximum, while if it is pegged at PhP25, PhP16 billion will be needed for palay procurement.

And to ensure that the imported rice will not enter the market since it should only serve as a buffer, NFA said that based on its earlier discussion, the buffer is only for the poor. 

It promised to supply poor households and take that out of the demand side of the market so that it can put less pressure on the price in the market, stressing the buffer is not going directly to the market but to the poor.

At the same time, the NFA said it is also looking at providing physical rice stock instead of cash assistance. 

For its part, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said it would support the NFA proposal but at a level of PhP23 a kilo. The agency added that at PhP22 or PhP23, farmers are satisfied with it since they are now being paid PhP16-PhP19. DA noted that PhP25 is just too high. 

Asked by the President on the influence of NFA’s buying price as well as the public reaction, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that at the farm gate level, NFA procurement will be concentrated in areas where there is excess supply relative to local demand. 
“In that case it can help elevate farm gate price,” Balisacan said.  | PND

Photo Courtesy of NFA