MANILA (Commodity Online) : The Philippines has decided to buy 2.1 million 50-kg bags of unhusked rice, locally known as palay, from local farmers starting February until April to help farmers.

In a statement issued here National Food Authority of Philippines said this is almost a fifth of the agency's full-year procurement target of 11.6 million bags.

NFA has bought 249,905 bags to date, and is aiming to buy more than half-a-million bags this month; 360,250 bags next month; 540,250 bags in March; and 696,900 bags during the peak of harvest in April.

Half-a-million more bags are expected to be bought in May especially in regions where the summer harvest is usually extended.

NFA said while the volume might be lower than in the prior year, it is already an accomplishment since farmers were just starting to harvest their palay.

The typhoons that hit the country in the last quarter affected most palay-producing regions of the country. Through the agency's buying operations we were able to help farmers who recovered and were able to plant and harvest their palay early, it said.

The NFA gives farmers a 70-centavo-per-kilo incentive to compensate farmers' efforts to improve the quality of their produce and pay for their expenses in bringing these to NFA warehouses.

This translates to P17.70 per kilo the NFA's buying price for clean and dry palay. The agency's effective palay buying price is P885 per 50-kg bag.