The House of Representatives allotted P7 billion for the National Food Authority (NFA) in the 2018 national budget.
The money will be use to procure unhusked rice or palay directly from local farmers, according to Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel.
Pimentel said in a statement the subsidy will allow NFA to buy 388,889 metric tons of palay from local farmers at P18 per kilo. The staple will be part of the country’s Strategic Rice Reserve.
Pimentel cited NFA’s mandate of keeping a Strategic Rice Reserve equal to at least 15 days of national consumption and equal to at least 30 days consumption.
“Under the law, obtaining additional rice supplies from abroad is always an option, in case of calamities, fortuitous events or shortfall in local production. But we would really prefer that the NFA buys as much palay as possible from local farmers, who are under tremendous pressure owing to the flood of rice supplies from abroad due to trade liberalization as well as outright smuggling,” Pimentel said.