BACOLOD CITY: The National Food Authority (NFA) in Negros Occidental is offering higher palay (unmilled rice) prices to local farmers amid the low buying price offered by traders.

Frisco Canoy, NFA provincial manager, said they were offering a competitive price for farmers and welcomed any volume of palay for sale.

"We are still open to buy their produce," Canoy added.

The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) said the buying price offered by traders in the province was between P13 and P14 per kilogram (kg), but the NFA was buying palay from local farmers at a support price of P17 per kg.

The agency also provided incentives of P3 per kg, and P0.70 per kg comprised of drying incentive of P0.20, a delivery incentive of P0.20 and cooperative development incentive fee of P0.30 intended for associations where they belong.

An individual farmer could receive a maximum of P20.40 per kg, while members of farmer cooperatives could get a maximum of P20.70 per kg for palay sold to the NFA.

Since January this year, NFA-Negros Occidental had purchased about 2,000 bags of palay from farmers in the province.

The NFA has buying stations in the cities of Bacolod and San Carlos and in Ilog town.

The agency also operates a processing center in Barangay Tabunan, Bago City, which is considered the rice granary of Negros Occidental.

"They could actually dry their palay at the processing center then it would be directly sold to us through our buying station there," he added.

Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said the provincial government was considering the option of buying palay.

We can provide additional funds to NFA for buying price or buying directly from the farmers, the governor said.

Lacson said he would meet with the OPA and other concerned offices next week.

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