Contributed by Coco P. Reyes, NFA-Bataan
BALANGA CITY, Bataan – National Food Authority (NFA) Bataan, headed by Provincial Manager Adelaida C. Nuestro facilitated an “ugnayan” meeting with various stakeholders of the agency last February 21.
NFA Cental Luzon Regional Office (NFA-CLRO) Assistant Regional Director Jaime S. Hadlocon discussed the various issues and challenges currently faced by the agency with rice retailers, farmers groups and rice millers from the province of Bataan.
Both Manager Nuestro and ARD Hadlocon stressed that despite the dwindling supply of NFA rice stocks, there is no rice shortage or rice crisis in the country. This is because there is still plenty of rice in the commercial and household sector. Additionally, peak harvest season will start in March until May.
ARD Hadlocon also appealed to farmers to sell a small portion of their harvest to NFA to help the agency in building its buffer stock inventory. He also appealed to rice retailers not to sell at high prices to help our “kababayans” who are all rice consumers. He also asked rice millers to cooperate with NFA personnel during their warehouse inspections.
ARD Hadlocon also lauded the farmers and farmer cooperatives that continuously support the NFA palay procurement program despite higher buying price from private traders. NFA buys clean and dry palay at Php17.00/kilogram plus additional incentives that could reach up to Php 0.70/kilogram.
Mr. Rodolfo Carreon of Tuyo Farmers Agriculture Cooperative and Mrs. Miguela Gesto of Greater Bani MPC assured NFA that they would continue selling part of their produce to NFA as a way of helping the government and the consuming public.
Participants also raised some queries during the open forum, mostly focusing on the possible increase of NFA buying price to compete with that of commercial traders. Unfortunately, the NFA Council denied the request of NFA for said increase because it would mean heavy losses to the agency since local NFA rice is already heavily subsidized.
It was also reported that arrival of NFA importation was pushed to June 2018 so as not to coincide with the harvest season.