The National Food Authority (NFA) assured that it’s offices and warehouses will remain open during the Holy Week.
NFA Administrator Judy Carol L. Dansal said the move is to continuously serve the rice withdrawals of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and local government units (LGUs) to satisfy the rice needs of their constituents who are forced to stay at home due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
“I have instructed all NFA regional directors and provincial managers to keep our offices and warehouses open and adequately manned throughout the Lenten season, including the traditional holidays of April 9-12, because the people’s need for rice, their basic food, does not stop during holidays,” Dansal said.
Aside from rice issuances, NFA warehouses will also continuously accommodate farmers and cooperatives selling their summer harvest, and undertake full-blast milling operations of palay stocks to maintain our ideal level of rice buffer stock, especially at this time of national health emergency, Dansal explained.
“Even the NFA Central Office in Quezon City will be open daily, manned by a skeletal workforce, to address all concerns related to our buffer stocking mandate and as part of the national Inter-Agency Task Force on Covid19,” she said.
As of the first quarter of 2020, the NFA had already sold some 3.644 million bags of rice, which is 201 percent higher than its 1,814 million bags distribution target.
For March alone, NFA recorded rice sales at 1.933 million bags, thrice the distribution target for the month set at 617,000 bags.
More than 900,000 bags of NFA’s rice sales for March went to the LGUs and DSWD after the declaration of ECQ in the entire Luzon area and in some areas in the Visayas and Mindanao.
In sum, the food agency had already sold 39 percent of its total distribution target of 9.209 million bags for 2020.
Meanwhile, the NFA’s year-round palay procurement had already netted 2.375 million bags from January to March, representing 102 percent of its 2.319 million bags target for the first quarter of 2020.
“It is important that the farmers will always have a ready market for their produce especially when private traders offer prices lower than the current PHP19/kilogram government support price,” Dansal said.
She explained that the NFA’s palay procurement program does not only ensure continuous replenishment of the government’s buffer stock to address emergency situations, but also assures farmers of a reasonable income from their produce.