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P700M ready to buy Bicol farmers’ palay

LEGAZPI CITY --- The National Food Authority (NFA) in Bicol has P700M intended for the procurement of palay from local rice farmers here, an NFA top official said yesterday.

Henry Tristeza, NFA regional director, said the funds would finance the procurement of palay from thousands of farmers in Bicol.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) indicate that there are 164,000 hectares of land planted with rice in Bicol.

The top three rice-producing provinces in Bicol are Camarines Sur with 70,000 hectares, followed by Albay with 33,000 hectares. Sorsogon has 22,000 hectares, while the remaining 33,000 hectares are shared by Camarines Norte, Catanduanes and Masbate provinces.

Tristeza in an interview said the prevailing buying price that the NFA offers to farmers is between P19 per kilo for well-dried palay and P10 per kilo for wet palay.

He said “the palay price would range from P19 to P10 per kilo depending on the quality of palay the farmers are selling.”

Tristeza has assured farmers that the funds would be used to finance the procurement of tons of palay in all accredited NFA buying stations across the region.

He said there are eight existing NFA buying stations in Bicol and an additional five would be set up during the peak harvest season starting October until December this year.

NFA currently has 205,000 bags of rice stored in warehouses. These buffer stocks are only good for nine days.

He said NFA rice is available in all accredited rice retail outlets. “We have lifted the rice buying limit,” he added.

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