GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/26 April)– The National Food Authority (NFA) in Region 12 has purchased a total of 181,540 bags of palay (unmilled rice) from local farmers during the first three months of the year, exceeding its procurement target for the period by 75 percent.
Raul Chong, NFA Region 12 director, said Thursday the agency has exceeded its first quarter procurement target of 104,000 bags by 77,540 bags.
Region 12, also called the Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Chong said Sultan Kudarat province posted the highest procurement rating with 196 percent, followed by South Cotabato with 144 percent and North Cotabato with 134.8 percent.
He said their total disbursements for palay procurement during the first quarter reached P147.5 million.
The funds were sourced from the NFA central office’s cereal procurement fund, he said.
Chong attributed their accomplishment during the first quarter of the year to the substantial palay harvests in the region and their intensified “Ugnayan” or information campaign in the last quarter of 2012.
The NFA central office launched the Ugnayan project last year to properly inform farmers regarding its procurement activities, especially the government’s support prices for corn and rice.
“We were able to increase our procurement capacity through the activation of our mobile buying stations,” the official said in the Department of Agriculture Region 12’s regular radio program “Agri Watch.”
Under NFA’s palay procurement program , the agency is buying palay at the current support price of P17.00 per kilo for clean and dry palay or those with 14 percent moisture content and with purity A level.
Palay deliveries falling below this specification can also be accommodated subject to price adjustment computed in accordance with current NFA equivalent net weight factor table.
Farmers are also given drying incentive of P 0.20, delivery incentive of P 0.20 and as well as cooperative development incentive fee (CDIF) of P 0.30.
The accumulated CDIF can be used by the concerned farmers’ cooperative to acquire post-harvest facilities, purchase farm inputs and payment of loan obligations.
Chong said the support price was aimed at ensuring the market for farmers’ produce as well as offer fair returns for their production investments.
The official assured that the agency has set aside enough funds for their palay procurement program and they will continue to implement the program throughout the year. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)