The National Food Authority (NFA) should now increase its buying price for palay to be able to get supply from local farmers as a way to stabilize its stock while its proposal to import rice has been deferred by the NFA Inter-Agency Council.
Third District Rep. Arthur Yap, who had served as NFA administrator in the past, supports such proposal.
However, the proposal to increase NFA’s buying price for dried palay had also been rejected earlier.
Yap said that as what he had read in the newspapers, NFA has a problem with their supply and that they had not prepared for it.
“Anyway, the President had given them order already. The President said they have to import rice. Not only they should import. For me, they should begin buying right now from domestic produce. But if they buy at the price of P17 or P18 a kilo, they will not be able to buy,” according to Yap.
He said the farmers will not sell their palay at that price, and the solution could be is to increase their buying price to P22 or P23 per kilo.
Yap said NFA should get a special authorization from the NFA Council to buy at market price- -public auction or public bidding of palay from the farmers.
“As soon as they get the authorization, they should start buying. At least it would help because if they still have to import, it will take 15 days for bidding, and possibly 45 days for the arrival. So, it would take longer. If NFA has two days supply, they would be exposed. That is why they have to be aggressive by this time,” according to Yap.
He said it is timely for NFA to do it because there are areas all over the country that are already harvesting for the summer crop.
“So, at this time, the NFA should already buy aggressively. But the NFA could not buy if the buying price is low. That is why the buying price of NFA should be at P22 or P23 per kilo at this time,” Yap added.
Yap explained that NFA is like a fire department where if there is a fire in the speculation of prices, the water that NFA uses is rice supply.
“So, if you don’t have water- -you don’t have rice supply- -you cannot be the fireman. Now, that there is price speculation, what does the NFA use as water to suppress the speculation? None, because they do not have the supply,” Yap explained.
He said NFA get s the supply either through importation or buying from local farmers.
“But the farmers will not sell their produce to NFA, if the buying price is low. So, NFA should increase their buying price. As of now, the NFA Council has not approved the increase of the buying price,” according to Yap.
He also explained that NFA is actually selling at a subsidized rate.
“That is why if their procurement cost is at P25-P28 per kilo, it doesn’t matter, they would still be selling it at P17 per kilo, because the mandate of the NFA is to make rice affordable for a greater majority. There is no profit on the part of the government,” Yap explained.
He said this is because the mandate of NFA is to sell it at an affordable price.
“For example, they had bought it at P23 per kilo and the price should be around P46-P50 per kilo which is the mill gate price already. They cannot sell it at P46 per kilo. They have to go back to P17-P18 if they don’t have the clearance to sell it at a higher price. It is because their mandate is to sell it at an affordable price,” according to Yap.
He said it is the system where the rice is sold at an affordable price and the supply is high, the price would go down.
The price would not go down if the supply is low, he added. (Angeline Valencia)