IMPORT FAST: NFA told to hasten rice importation

The Davao City Council has urged the National Food Authority to hasten its rice importation for a continued food security, rice prices and supply stability.

Councilor Marissa Abella, chair of the City Council Committee on Agriculture and Food, filed a resolution on Friday’s city council’s session asking NFA Council Chair Leoncio Evasco Jr. for an immediate rice importation due to shortage of NFA rice in the market.

“In its letter, NFA stated that it only has 14,222 bags of rice stored in its warehouse and that in case of any in the absence of commercial rice, it is only good to last for only 1.62 days. But basing on their average daily sales, this could only last until March 15, 2018,” she said.

Abella said that in the months starting from the third week of March until June 2018, NFA Davao City will have no more NFA rice to distribute to its accredited outlets.

“June is still three months away. We need more NFA rice sooner to ensure a buffer in case of calamity, to ensure that Filipinos can buy more affordable rice that suits within their budget and prevent or avoid the increase in commercial rice prices,” she said.

She said this has caused panic to some Filipinos who misunderstood the fact that there is absolute rice shortage while in fact there is none because of the presence of commercial rice.

There is however shortage on the required NFA rice buffer for a 15-day period. “NFA further stated and clarified that there is no rice shortage. There is plenty of commercial rice in the market from neighboring provinces and private sector importation,” she said.

However, she said commercial rice costs much price ranging from P42 to P50 per kilo compared to P27 per kilo of NFA rice. Abella added that NFA cannot procure play from the farmers due to its high buying prices from commercial traders.

“I believe many Dabawenyos, especially those in the marginalized sector or those who want to save more money, prefer NFA rice as it is a lot cheaper than commercial rice,” she said.

Given the shortage, Abella said people will be forced to buy commercial rice. Consequently, prices of commercial rice may increase due to the high demand thereby affecting a large number of the populace.