DA, DTI to lead TWG that will deal with country’s rice distribution
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that to deal with the country’s “messed up” rice distribution system, a Technical Working Group to be led by Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will be formed.
In a press conference today (Thursday), Piñol said the TWG will particularly monitor and handle logistics and distribution of grains.
This, as President Rodrigo Duterte particularly tasked Piñol and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez to make sure that there is enough affordable rice for Filipinos days after the National Food Authority (NFA) completely ran out of buffer stocks.
“We’re accepting the challenge. We will work with transparency. And we will make sure the stigma of corruption that our department has been tainted with will be slowly erased by transparency, proper information campaign and consultation with stakeholders,” Piñol said.
“We will make sure that there is affordable food and enough rice supply for Filipino people,” he added.
Piñol said that right now, the TWG is studying the possibility of increasing the local buying price for palay from P17 per kilo to P20 per kilo.
Lopez, on the other hand, said the TWG will also look at the proposal to set a Suggested Retail Price (SRP) for rice to avoid overpricing in the market.
All of this is happening as DA takes over the NFA and other agencies, including Philippine Coconut Authority and the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority.
As per the direct order of Duterte executive committee, composed of DA, NFA, and Department of Finance, is also being formed as an advisory body to the NFA Council, the highest-policy making body of NFA.