The National Food Authority in Western Visayas (NFA-6) is set to buy 1.9 million bags of palay this year to meet its procurement target.
The bulk of the purchase will be covered during the second cropping season, as the agency anticipates a drought that could affect rice production in the region.
NFA regional manager Dianne A. Silva said that the agency is trying to build up its buffer stock in preparation for the possible disaster.
“With the Rice Tarrification Law, our only mandate now is to buy palay, establish a buffer stock of which the palay should come from our local farmers so that we can serve the same in times of calamities and disasters,” she added.
Silva appealed to line agencies such as the National Irrigation Administration, the Department of Agriculture, and local government units for help in the procurement process since they no longer have the buffer stocking incentive (BSI) previously provided by the DA.
The NFA has procured 140,501 bags of palay so far, which increases their available inventory to 290,097 bags. When milled, the palay can translate to 182,761 bags of rice.
Silva emphasized that Western Visayas is the strength of Visayas when it comes to food security and rice sufficiency, with the region providing rice to other areas such as Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, and Bicol Region.
The NFA is also eyeing to distribute 50,000 bags of rice for government employees in the region as part of their one-time 25-kilogram rice allowance