Convene the Food Security Committee—former NFA Administrator
Former National Food Authority Administrator Renan Dalisay urged government to immediately convene the Food Security Committee to better determine the country’s rice supply situation and the course of action to take.
“With the present debates on the rice policy, the immediate thing to do is convene the Food Security Committee wherein DA [Department of Agriculture], PSA [Philippine Statistics Authority], NFA, NEDA [National Economic and Development Authority], DOF [Department of Finance], DTI [Department of Trade and Industry], BSP [Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas], DOST [Department of Science and Technology], and Pag-asa are part, to determine the real situation of our industry rice stocks,” Dalisay said in a post on his Facebook page.
The NFA and the Department of Agriculture are at odds on the issue of rice importation. The NFA is seeking to import rice before June to ensure that stocks are in place during the lean season of July to September but the DA is against it because it is harvest season now and farmers are at risk because it could result in plummeting prices and lower income for them.
“The NFA Council should convene the soonest with NFA DA, and even IRRI, present to unite on the course of action,” Dalisay said
As of March 1, 2017, the country’s rice stocks stood at 2.18 million tons, 19 percent lower compared to the same period last year, with the NFA stocks amounting to just 396,970 metric tons, 63 percent lower compared to a year ago. Commercial rice stocks amounted to 626,300 metric tons, 11 percent lower from a year ago.
“NFA is an implementing agency and the rank and file will always be the one to suffer and blamed with a conflicting rice policy. And in a stalemate among policy makers, it is the public that is adversely affected. Debates should be in the interagency meetings and not in media alone because what we need are implementable solutions,” Dalisay said.