GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 19 Oct) – The National Food Authority (NFA) in South Cotabato province has expanded its palay procurement activities to assist farmers who are currently reeling from the declining commercial buying prices.
Hazel Solis, NFA-South Cotabato branch manager, said Tuesday they have opened their buying stations in Koronadal City and in the municipalities of Banga, Surallah, and Sto. Niño to accommodate more farmers.
She said the move is part of their efforts to provide a more viable alternative to palay farmers as buying prices in the area have reportedly dropped to as low as P13 per kilo.
“We have vacant warehouses and our buying stations are ready to accommodate our farmers anytime,” she said in an interview over radio station Bombo Radyo in Koronadal City.
Solis said their palay buying price remained at P19 per kilo, subject to the agency’s quality specifications or standards.
She said they mainly buy clean and dry palay or those with a moisture content of at least 14 percent, 95 to 100 percent purity, seven percent discolored and damaged kernels, and free from infestation.
The agency allows the procurement of palay that are beyond the 14 percent moisture content but the branch has prioritized the clean and dry stocks due to its lack of drying facilities, she said.
In Koronadal City, Solis said the local government provides an additional incentive of P2 per kilo for farmers who deliver their palay to the NFA.
The incentive, which increased the buying price to as much as P21 per kilo, is based on a standing memorandum of agreement between the city government and the NFA for the implementation of the Modified Palay Assistance for Legislators and Local Government Units or PALLGU program.
The official said they accept deliveries from both individual farmers and members of associations, provided that the stocks pass their standard specification. Individual farmers may deliver a maximum of 700 bags of palay at seven hectares.
Solis said farmers may reach out and send samples to their buying stations for proper assessment and the scheduling of the delivery.
“We have relaxed the requirements for those delivering to us for the first time and they only need to show us their samples and proof that they are the actual tillers of their land. This is to prevent deliveries from the traders,” she said.
Solis said they also conduct mobile procurement activities in parts of the province using one of their delivery trucks.
Farmers may contact their office if they have no capacity to deliver their stocks and it will then send a truck to pick them up.
“We have seen an increase in deliveries this procurement season and we average 1,000 to 1,200 bags per day. We were able to cater all those who came to us and we have not encountered any problem so far,” she added. (MindaNews)