NFA ordered to store 60-day rice supply
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that President Rodrigo Duterte directed the National Food Authority (NFA) to increase its rice buffer stock inventory from the current 15 days to 60 days and to buy more from Filipino rice farmers.
Duterte, as cited by Piñol, also directed Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez to help provide funds for the NFA’s local rice procurement program, emphasizing that he would like the rice agency’s warehouses “filled to the roof” to assure the Filipino people of sufficient rice supply.
“Buy from the Filipino farmers first and if you could not find sufficient stocks to be bought at the price approved by the NFA Council, that’s the time you source it through importation,” Duterte said.
For the first time, Duterte presided over the NFA Council meeting last night in Malacañang.
Piñol said the President also directed the NFA to increase its buying price of local palay so it could rack up its needed buffer stocks, adding that he did not like a repeat of what happened recently when the country’s rice agency went low on its buffer stocks, which led to a spike in the price of commercial rice in the market.
The NFA currently buys its buffer stocks from local production by Filipino farmers and through importation to maintain supplies sold at P27 to P32 per kilo in the market, and also to respond to calamities and emergencies when government distributes rice for free.
The state-run grains agency buys rice “clean and dry” with 14 percent moisture content from farmers at P17 per kilo but lately, the agency said it could hardly buy locally because the buying price of private traders of fresh rice at 18 percent moisture content ranges from P18 to P25 per kilo.