NFA projects palay price to drop by P1 per kilo

“The agency is here to level the playing field. We expect commercial traders
to buy the palay at one peso less than the prevailing prices when the
harvest season comes in,” he said in a recent interview.

He told MindaNews that the regional office has P12 million in initial funds
for palay procurement and that they could always ask for an additional
amount from their main office should the first allotment be insufficient.

Macasinag said they have so far bought 36,000 of the 156,000 bags they plan
to procure for 2006.

NFA, he stressed, will continue to buy palay at a farm gate price of at
least P10 per kilo in its coverage area of South Cotabato, North Cotabato
and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

On the other hand, private traders across the region presently buy palay at
an average of P9.50 to P10.50 per kilo.

Luisito Mangayayam, newly promoted assistant manager of NFA-Sultan Kudarat,
said it is normal for private traders to drop their buying price during peak

“But even with a lower price, many farmers still tend to patronize the
private traders because of the kaliwaan,” he said, referring to the practice
of giving farmers instant cash right after delivering the product to a

In some instances, he said, farmers have no other recourse but to bring
their produce to private traders who financed their farms.

He said NFA pays in checks, which many farmers find inconvenient as they
have to go to the banks for encashment.

Macasinag urged farmers to deliver their palay to NFA to help the government
sustain its food security program.

With the expected price drop in the commercial market in the coming peak
season, he said NFA would have the upper hand over private traders in terms
of farmers’ patronage.

In a related development, he warned unscrupulous rice retailers from jacking
up prices beyond unreasonable levels, especially those accredited to sell
NFA rice.

NFA regular rice is sold at a standard price of P18 per kilo. Some
retailers, however, reportedly mixed NFA rice with other varieties and sell
it at higher prices or hoard them.

"To be a rice retailer is a responsibility. While your primary aim is for
business, you have a social responsibility to do and that is to see to it
that the sale and supply of the rice is maintained at its present levels,"
he said.