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National Food Authority (NFA) Region 10 Director John Robert R. Hermano explained the palay procurement program before some 90 farmers during the Rice Summit for Farmers in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental, organized by the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office-10 (DA RFO-10) on October 8 at Harbor Lights, Gusa, this city.
Hermano punctuated NFAâ€™s palay procurement program with a brief backgrounder on Republic Act (RA) 11203 or the Rice Liberalization Law citing various functions of the agency that were removed.
He informed the farmers that the agency no longer issues the license and permit for grains business. Also, supply and price stabilization are no longer part of its mandate. However, he said, NFA still continues to distribute its remaining inventory of imported rice sold at P27 per kilogram through its retailers pursuant to the order of President Rodrigo Duterte.
He further said that the law also stripped off its police power under PD4 which means, NFA will no longer monitor irregularities in grains business.
in this new law which was signed last February 15 this year, NFA will no longer engage in rice importation as it is now mandated to procure palay locally and maintain an optimal level of buffer rice stocks from this local procurement for distribution only during emergencies and/or calamities through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Local Government Units (LGUs), the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), and other relief agencies.
Hermano also discussed the increase of NFA support price for clean and dry palay to P19.00 a kilogram, while the P3.70 which were just temporary incentives were already cut effective September 11 this year.
He likewise explained the regionâ€™s limited drying facilities and hauling trucks. â€œThis is also the reason why we encourage you to [as much as possible] deliver your palay, clean and dry, aside from getting the full buying price of P19.00 per kilogram,â€ Hermano appealed to the farmers.
â€œAs regards to budget, the region has been allocated with the equivalent amount to procure 600,000 bags in 50 kilograms,â€ he added.
The NFA Director advised the farmers to call their office for any inquiries saying they cannot accommodate all your freshly threshed palay if their drying facilities are still full. "You can also call us if you donâ€™t have trucks to deliver your palay stocks to our buying stations,â€ he added.
For the requirements, first-timers can deliver an initial 200 bags of their palay harvests. On their first delivery, they will only be required to fill out the Farmerâ€™s Information Sheet for the issuance of passbook to be used in the succeeding palay deliveries.
For farmers who already have their passbook â€œkahitmatagal naâ€ can still use the same â€œbecause we record every palay delivery, as this will also be documented and submitted to DA for the Registry System on Basic Sector in Agriculture (RSBSA) to update their list,â€ Hermano said. Accordingly, farmers included in RSBSA will be considered as beneficiaries of DA's farm assistance programs.
The summit highlighted the governmentâ€™s Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program (RCEP) with focal persons from different lead agencies presenting their respective programs. Among these were Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) for training and extension services; Technical Education and Skills Development (TESDA) for training; Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) for mechanization; Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) for seed component; and Rice Program of the Department of Agriculture.
The regionâ€™s outstanding rice farmers were also given the opportunity to make presentations on their best practices in rice farming.