NFA insists Rice Tariffication Law beneficial to farmers

The National Food Authority (NFA) insisted that there is no need to review the Rice Tariffication Law and maintained the measure is beneficial to farmers despite the continuous decline in prices of palay or unhusked rice.

NFA administrator Judy Dansal said the Rice Tariffication Law lowered the production costs of palay.

“But since the law is still new and the sector is still under a transition period, we cannot attain or savor the full benefits of the law yet although we can already see and feel it,” she said.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar, meanwhile, asked the farmers to give the Rice Tariffication Law a chance.

“Let’s give the law a chance to exhibit its usefulness. The recommendation is two years, after that, we can give it the necessary review,” Dar said.

The NFA also refuted reports that it was not buying palay from local farmers.

NFA said it was buying at P19 per kilogram, much higher than the current P11 to P13 per kilo of traders.

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NFA insists Rice Tariffication Law beneficial to farmers

Dansal said NFA bought 2 million bags of palay from farmers in September, which is equivalent to 40.5 percent of the total local purchases since January.

The grains agency’s palay procurement averaged 90,012 bags daily last month.

Region II or Cagayan Valley recorded the highest palay sold with 505,440 bags. Western Visayas followed with 318,383 bags; Central Mindanao with 298,665 bags; Southern Tagalog with 121,910 bags and Bicol Region with 100,714 bags, NFA said.
“As instructed by the President, and pursuant to our mandate of buffer stocking for calamities and emergencies, we do our very best to accommodate as many farmers who want to sell palay to the government,” Dansal said.

Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) earlier blamed the implementation of the Rice Tarrification Law, which allowed unlimited importation of for the continuous decline of  prices.

Reports said farmgate prices of palay dropped to between ₱11 per kilogram (/kg) to 13/kg for wet palay and ₱14/kg to 17/kg for dry palay.

FFF projected that palay prices are expected to decline even more during the peak of harvests in October and November.