By Stephanie Sevillano

ADEQUATE RICE STOCKS. A warehouse staff inspects sacks of palay (unhusked rice) bought from farmers at the National Food Authority (NFA) in Balagtas, Bulacan on May 22, 2024. NFA officer-in-charge administrator Larry Lacson on Monday (May 27) reported that the agency has tripled the volume of rice buffer stock from 45,000 metric tons (MT) to 126,000 MT as the NFA prepares for the looming La Niña. (PNA photo of Joan Bondoc)

MANILA – The National Food Authority (NFA) reported Monday it has tripled the volume of rice buffer stock through the new pricing scheme.

In an interview, NFA officer-in-charge Administrator Larry Lacson said NFA warehouses secured 2.8 million bags of palay with its higher buying price range set at PHP17 to PHP23 per kilogram of fresh or wet palay; and PHP23 to PHP30/kg of clean and dry palay.

Naging 126,000 MT (metric ton) of milled rice equivalent ang stocks natin. So more than triple ito doon sa dati nating stocks (Our stocks have reached the equivalent of 126,000 MT of milled rice. It’s more than triple of our previous stocks) equivalent to 45,000 MT of milled rice,” Lacson said.

He said palay procurement is still ongoing to secure the 300,000 MT of rice buffer stock target.

Meanwhile, Lacson said there is an adequate rice stock for the looming La Niña phenomenon.

Lacson cited the earlier supply provided to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), as well as the availability of rice in the private sector and households.

Tingin ko hindi tayo dapat kabahan. Unang-una, mayroon kaming stocks na na-triple. So pag kailangan pa ng DSWD, OCD, makakapagbigay po tayo (I think we should not be worried. First of all, we have tripled stocks. So, if the DSWD and OCD need more, we can still provide),” he said.

The NFA, he said, is also coordinating with the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Philippine Center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech), the private sector, and non-profit organizations, among others, to secure drying facilities for the wet harvest season.

Hindi pupwede ring mabulukan tayo ng palay so critical po talaga iyong facilities natin, iyong paghahanda ng drying facilities (We can’t afford to waste palay so our facilities are critical and preparations for drying facilities),” he added.

Lacson also urged farmers’ cooperatives to secure contracts with the NFA for drying facilities. (PNA)