NFA cries foul over accusations of collusion with syndicate or rice cartel
The National Food Authority (NFA) management has denied accusations that an alleged syndicate or rice cartel operating with or without collusion with NFA personnel has caused the NFA buffer stock shortage.
“It is highly lamentable that some individuals or groups would rather find fault elsewhere, rather than help in finding solutions to the problem of low government food security stocks so we could immediately bring back to the markets affordable NFA rice for the masses,” NFA administrator Jason Aquino said.
Aquino earlier welcomed any audit or inquiry into the NFA’s rice distribution system to give the agency a chance to clarify and explain the various levels of NFA rice releases to the country’s highly critical, less critical and critical areas.
He stressed that the possibility of NFA rice shortage had been anticipated by NFA management as early as the last quarter of 2017, “that’s why a request for rice importation was submitted to the NFA Council in October to immediately replenish dwindling government buffer stocks.”
“The depletion of NFA stocks was not sudden, hence I find it rather malicious and irresponsible to accuse or insinuate any collusion between NFA personnel and private traders to manipulate the rice market and make a killing from the resulting increase in commercial rice prices,” Aquino further said.