NFA warns against speculators, says rice supply is enough
National Food Authority Administrator Renan Dalisay has warned speculators against manipulating rice prices, saying there is no reason for rice prices to spike because of ample supply.
“We at the NFA have been moving heaven and earth to counter any attempt to speculate and spike the price of rice. We are fully aware of the strategy used by our enemies,” Dalisay said in his Facebook post over the holidays.
“Let it be clear that there are no compelling reasons for rice prices to increase as both government and the private sector have sufficient supply. Even with severe El Niño coupled with strong typhoons like Lando and Nona which affected our rice production, there is no shortage in our lifeblood grain. Even the so-called lean months should not cause rice prices to spike. All these are results of forward-looking policy making and being a step ahead of potential problems,” he added.
The latest data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics show that the country’s rice stocks at the beginning of February stood at 2.9 million metric tons, 25 percent higher than it was a year ago, with the NFA reporting an 88-percent increase in rice stocks to 995,800 metric tons from just 530,900 tons in the same period last year. Commercial rice stocks are also 22.4 percent higher at 942,400 tons from 769,900 tons. Rice stocks in homes, however, dropped by 4.3 percent to 1.005 million tons from 1.05 million tons.
He said a recent news report saying that rice prices are going up in Davao because of El Nino is “a classic example of pure and manipulative speculation.”
“We are aware that the enemies of rice price stability have used skewed media reports and would want to turn an unsuspecting public against the NFA,” Dalisay said. “I assure the public that we at the NFA will immediately regain the upper hand because we are ready and fully prepared to meet the situation head on.”
He said the NFA is injecting more rice in the market and employing rolling stores in areas where they are needed, bringing NFA rice beyond the public markets and nearer where more people need them. He said the NFA is also conducting regular market inspections to monitor supply and prices.
“Needless to say, speculation aimed at spiking rice prices will not triumph as long as we are on guard,” he added.