SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ – Buyers of NFA rice continue to line up at the market retailers’ stalls here although it is the height of the harvesting season.
Demosthenes Mananguit, president of the NFA rice accredited retailers here, said Tuesdays and Wednesdays are “blockbuster” days for his NFA rice retailing. For the other retailers, it’s Thursdays and Fridays, he added.
There are eight NFA retailers at the public market here who get their allocation of 30 cavans of rice per week.
“I get my allocation every Monday and sells it Tuesday and Wednesday. Others get theirs on Wednesdays and sell them on Thursdays and Fridays,” Mananguit said.
One big reason attributed by Mananguit for the long queue of NFA rice buyers is the still high selling price for commercial rice. He said they buy their commercial rice from agents of rice traders and the latest off er for him was P1,950 per cavan of 50 kilograms.
“So, at that price, we buy the local harvest at P39 per kilogram. Of course, we add some marks-up and that’s our selling price,” Mananguit said.
One other reason given is that the NFA rice is now of “qood quality” compared to those they sold in the past years.
“The NFA rice now is white, no foul odor and ‘bukbok’, and is a lot cheaper at P32 per kilo gram,” Mananguit said.
He said he only gets P1 net per kilogram for the NFA rice that he sells which is a bit of sacrifice for the consumers as he also endures difficulties in getting his weekly allocation at the NFA warehouse in Cabanatuan City which is 32 kilometers away from here.
Lines at NFA too
“We also line-up at the NFA compound to get our allocation as there are many other retailers from the different towns and cities of Nueva Ecija, including that of Dingalan in Aurora province, getting their allocation,” Mananguit said. “We use our transport vehicle, workers, and buy our food while waiting for the release of our allocation. We just want to serve our buyers that’s why we are enduring the difficulties,” he added.
Each of the buyers in the queue is entitled to two kilograms of NFA rice.
The prevailing exfarm buying price for fresh palay harvest offered here is at P19 per kilogram for the short grains palay and P20-21 per kilogram for long grains. It’s the local palay traders who mill for the supply of milled rice to the market here while the big rice mills deliver their milled rice to their Metro Manila customers.
The easiest way to compute the cost of the milled rice is to multiply by two the buying price of the palay, according to the traders.
Curiously, though, even the agricultural workers look for cheaper rice. Unlike in the past, they don’t get any share from their usual harvesting chores as the harvesting here and elsewhere in Nueva Ecija are now taken over by the combine harvester they usually call “halimaw” (beast).
The combine harvester efficiently harvests the palay grains, winnows, and bags them in one operation. The usual fee for the machine is 12 cavans per 100 cavans of harvests.
Marlon Manale, an agricultural worker here, said he usually gets a share of five to seven cavans of palay every harvest season for engaging in human harvesting.
“That chance is not there anymore because of the ‘halimaw’,” he said referring to the combine harvester.
He said he now subsists by getting paid for odd jobs that he does. He then lines up to buy NFA rice from his earnings.
Other complaint receive here for the high cost of the local harvest is the absence of the “regular milled” rice which is usually cheaper than the well-milled rice which is now the common type of rice sold in the market.
The “regular milled rice” is a little inferior in quality compared to the well-milled rice.