P10-B budget for NFA to buy palay sought
A lawmaker has filed a resolution that will try to address the National Food Authority’s (NFA) inability to procure local palay given its low buying price, which has created a domino effect in the availability of affordable rice in the market.
Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao is considering requesting an additional budget of P10 billion for the NFA from the Department of Budget and Management to buy more palay from farmers to augment its stocks.
The resolution will also try to reverse the recent decision of the NFA Council to reject any hike in the NFA’s buying price, which has been nailed to P17 per kilogram for the past 10 years.
“Congress can overrule any position of the NFA Council. If the council did not act on the proposal of the farmers’ representatives to increase the buying price … then within the legislative function of the Congress it can enact a resolution, a law, that the NFA, being an executive branch, can follow,” Casilao said.
Low buying price
The NFA has resorted to importing about 750,000 metric tons of rice this year instead of procuring from farmers.
It cited the NFA’s low buying price, which cannot compete against prices being offered by private traders.
“The leadership should see it as an urgent measure because we are deliberating the budget for 2019, and yet the budget for procurement of the NFA for 2018 is almost depleted already,” Casilao said.
He added that as the harvest season begins again around November, there should already be funds available for the grains agency.
The P10-billion supplemental fund was expected to buy around 700,000 MT of palay at a price between P18 to P22 per kilo, Casilao said.
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