32,000 bags of NFA rice to arrive here anytime
posted 28-Sep-2018  ·  
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The National Food Authority (NFA) has allocated another 32,000 bags of imported rice for the province of Catanduanes, with the shipment to arrive from the mainland anytime.

NFA regional director Henry Tristeza told the Tribune in an interview last week that the agency will increase the exposure of government rice in the market in an effort to reduce the price of commercial rice.

“Our distribution operation is continuous,” he said, adding that it has released 60,760 bags have been released to the markets.

So far, he said, there has been no negative feedback from the buying public. However, RD Tristeza added that overall there has been no downward movement in the price of commercial rice as the wholesalers and retailers are most likely still disposing of previous stocks bought at higher costs.

Already, the NFA’s participation rate in the rice market in the Bicol region has more than doubled from the previous 9.82 percent to an average of 20 percent. NFA Catanduanes provincial manager Rodrigo Embate Jr. disclosed that the agency currently supplies 40 percent of the island’s daily rice requirement.

On the recently approved importation of 250,000 metric tons of imported rice, Director Tristeza announced that the Bicol region will get 400,000 bags.

The imported rice is expected to arrive in the country by the second week of October, in time for lean months of November and December. Another importation is being proposed to supply a projected deficiency this January to mid-March of 2019, with the NFA already granted a standby authority to import 500,000 metric tons for June to September.

On the discovery of rice weevils in part of the shipment that arrived in Tabaco City, the NFA regional director said that incoming shipments, once confirmed to be infested with weevil, will be quarantined on the high seas.

On the other hand, he said that those calling for the abolition of the NFA do not understand the role of the agency in ensuring food security for 100 million Filipinos.

He wondered if there is any entity who can capably handle this role without considering profit. “The NFA has always addressed every rice crisis in the country,” RD Tristeza emphasized, pointing out that the current shortage is not of the NFA’s making.

The law of supply and demand contributed to the rise in the prices of commercial rice as the government through NFA, had no rice to inject into the market, following the delay in the NFA Council’s approval of the agency’s request for rice importation.

In the matter of procurement of locally-grown rice, the NFA director bared that the agency will buy palay from local farmers at the current support price of P17 per kilo plus the 70-centavo incentive once the price of commercial rice drops.

The proposal raising the palay buying price is still pending before an inter-agency committee, Tristeza said.

The NFA Bicol chief was in town together with assistant regional director Yolanda Navarro for the scheduled regional management committee meeting held at the NFA provincial office in San Isidro Village, Virac last Sept. 10, 2018.

Meanwhile, NFA manager Embate expressed satisfaction that the agency’s increased participation in the local rice market has made available the staple food in the markets and rural barangays.

“There have been no queues at market outlets,” he said, adding that the rice allocation for the outlets have been increased to 25 bags per week.

On the other hand, accredited retailers in barangays are being given 10 bags weekly to be sold at 5 kilos per customer at P32 per kilo. The locally-milled rice sold at P27 is available only at the Tagpuan Day Rice Response Delivery outlet for residents of the resettlement site in San Isidro Village, Virac.

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