Press Release
February 4, 2018

...asks what actions are taken to meet 15-day buffer policy

Senator Nancy Binay said the shortage of NFA rice is real and asked what the inter-agency National Food Authority Council is doing to address the dwindling supply of NFA rice.

"Totoong may supply ng bigas sa mga palengke, pero nagkakaubusan na po ang tinitindang NFA rice," Binay said,

"Dahil sa kakulangan ng tinitindang NFA rice sa merkado, napupuwersa ang ating mga kababayan na bumili ng mahal na bigas," she added.

Binay cited a report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showing prices of regular and well-milled rice rising by one to three pesos per kilo in six regional centers including Kidapawan City, Naga City and the National Capital Region.

Although the NFA cannot control the prices of commercial rice, it sells rice at more affordable prices as part of its mandate to ensure food security.

"Kasama sa trabaho ng NFA ang siguruhin na mayroong sapat at murang bigas para sa lahat lalo na ngayong damang-dama ng ating mga kababayan ang kakulangan sa NFA rice," Binay said.

Currently, NFA sells rice at P27/kg and P32/kg, while commercial rice varieties of comparable quality are sold at P36/kg to P41/kg.

Binay also asked the Council why it chose to defer the importation of 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice despite the NFA admitting its current rice buffer stock is good for only three days.

"The Council should not rely on mere projections and instead be flexible and sensitive to the needs on the ground," she said.

"Kamakailan lang inamin na mismo ng NFA na tatlong araw na lang ang buffer stock ng NFA rice. Ano nang nangyari sa polisiya na dapat magkaroon ng 15-day buffer stock ang ahensya?" she said.

The NFA is required to have at least 15-day buffer stock at any given time and 30-day buffer stock during lean season, which usually starts in July until September.

Meanwhile, Binay again reiterated her call to the NFA that the agency must bare all suppliers given import permits under the minimum access volume (MAV) scheme.

"This is in the interest of transparency and to prevent issues like conflicts of interest and corruption," she said.

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