NFA to continue food security role under no rice QR regime


The National Food Authority (NFA) will continue to build up its food security buffer stocks from domestic palay procurement and rice importation, if necessary, under a regime where quantitative restriction (QR) on rice has been lifted.
This is in reaction to speculations that with the lifting of rice QR in favor of higher tariffs on rice imports, the food agency may have to be reorganized to limit its functions to proprietary activities such as buffer stocking and local procurement.
“If the past few years are any indication, we have seen a trend where palay farmgate prices have been on the uptrend, higher than NFA’s support price of P17/kilogram. This is the reason we have not been able to meet procurement targets, resorting to importation to fill in the buffer stock requirement for food security,” NFA administrator Jason L.Y. Aquino said.
The NFA management believes it will take a while before the domestic rice market would be able to adjust to the non-QR regime, but the government should continue to provide safety nets for the farmers who may be most affected by the freer entry of imported rice into the country.
“We cannot speculate on how much lower rice prices could go under a non-QR but higher tariff situation. Our role in NFA is to ensure that there will always be enough affordable rice for everyone, including the small farmer-producers who are also end-consumers of their own produce,” Aquino said.
Aquino explained that small farmers eventually sell their own harvests, sometimes in advance, thus they end up buying from the market for their family’s own daily consumption.
"While performing buffer stock functions, NFA shall continue to issue import licenses and provide the necessary guidelines to ensure food safety and quality standards," Aquino said.


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