The National Food Authority’s (NFA) said its current rice buffer stock, which consists of imports and palay bought from local farmers, is enough to fill the country’s rice requirement for 13 days.
The NFA said its warehouses have a total of 8.5 million bags, or 425,000 metric tons of rice. The food agency’s buffer stock consists of 4.5 million bags of milled rice (225,000 MT) and 6.4 million bags of unhusked rice (200,000 MT).
Of the 4.5 million bags of milled rice, 4.1 million were imported while the remaining 400,000 bags came from local farmers.
While the agency’s stockpile is good for 13 days, it is mandated to maintain a buffer stock of as much as 30 days during the lean months of July to September.
The country’s national daily consumption requirement (DCR) is pegged at 651,860 bags or about 32,593 MT.
Republic Act 11203, or the rice trade liberalization law, mandates the NFA to maintain a buffer stock for 15 to 30 days of DCR to meet contingencies during calamities and emergencies anywhere in the country.
The NFA said it continues to buy palay from local farmers to further beef up its stocks and provide planters with a ready market for their produce at a “reasonable” price.
“We conduct procurement operations on a year-round basis. We have more than 300 buying stations across the country that are open daily where farmers can deliver their produce and avail of our support price and incentives,” NFA Administrator Judy Carol Dansal said in a statement.
The NFA currently buys palay at a support price of P17.70 per kg plus a buffer stocking incentive (BSI) of P3 per kg, P0.20 per kg drying incentive, P0.20 per kg delivery incentice, and P0.30 per kg cooperative development incentive fee. This brings the NFA’s maximum buying price for clean and dry palay to P20.70 per kg for farmer cooperatives and P20.40 per kg for individual farmers.
In the first half, the NFA procured 5.415 million bags of unhusked rice from farmers, surpassing its target of 4.649 million bags, due to its higher buying price.
With this, the NFA said it has already achieved 37.42 percent of its full-year procurement target of 14.46 million bags. The NFA was only able to buy 74,420 bags of palay from local farmers last year, as private traders bought local rice at a higher price.
The NFA clarified that all its rice stocks are in good condition as these are kept in “strategically located warehouses nationwide are maintained in good condition at all times and ready for release to calamity victims as required under the law.”
“We abide by what is dictated by our mandate. We store and handle our stocks following good warehouse-keeping protocols in all our warehouses across the country so that we can immediately respond to any need for rice supply during calamities and emergencies,” Dansal said.
“We assure the public that NFA is compliant with its mandate of maintaining a safe and sufficient buffer stock for any emergencies our countrymen may face anywhere in the country,” she added.
The NFA said it will not allow its rice stockpile to rot or deteriorate beyond what is fit for human consumption.