Gov’t to sell commercial rice to counter effects of NFA rice lack


The Department of Agriculture on Tuesday said that it would set up outlets where it could sell more affordable commercial rice to counter the effects of the lack of government-subsidized NFA rice in the markets.

According to a report on Balitanghali by Joseph Morong, the DA said commercial rice will be sold at these outlets for P38 per kilo.

This developed more than a week after the National Food Authority (NFA) suspended the distribution of its subsidized rice to accredited retailers, saying that its buffer stock was down to two days worth of supply.

Compared to commercial rice at prices ranging from P36 to over P65 per kilo, NFA rice is more affordable at P27 to P32 per kilo.

The NFA is required to secure at least 15-day buffer stock at any given time and 30-day buffer stock during lean season.

On Monday, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio "Jun" Evasco Jr. had ordered the NFA to monitor and inspect warehouses of traders and called for the prosecution of those found hoarding stocks of the staple.

"Can you sleep at night when a lot of people don't have anything to buy and yet you're hoarding, you are keeping so much?" the Palace official said.

To replenish the buffer stock, the NFA has secured the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte  to import 250,000 metric tons of rice.

In addition, the report said local farmers are expected to produce 3.6 million metric tonnes this harvest season in June.

"The more rice getting into the market, prices will be stabilized," Evasco said.

A Senate inquiry on the NFA's low buffer stock has been set for February 27.

The Palace has warned traders allegedly hoarding rice in order to justify price increases of being charged for economic sabotage.


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