NFA to stabilize rice prices as imports arrive this month
The National Food Authority (NFA) said it will immediately make its presence in the market with low-priced rice at P27 and P32 per kilogram as soon as rice imports start arriving on or before end of this month.
This is expected to arrest the continuous increase in rice prices and help low-income and poor families cope better with their daily expenses.
This is part of the policy and operational directives delivered by NFA administrator Jason Aquino during a meeting with the agency’s Regional Directors recently.
The expected arrivals are part of the 250,000 metric tons (MT) contracted with Thailand and Vietnam under a government-to-government procurement scheme, the fastest way to replenish NFA buffer stocks that had been depleted to a very low level.
Rice is the staple food of 85 percent of Filipinos. Poor families spend more than 60 percent of their budget on food, of which almost 20 percent is rice.
Aquino also instructed NFA field officials to further intensify market monitoring and enforcement to “ensure that rice for the poor reaches the poor.”
The NFA had just concluded the opening of bids for another 250,000 MT rice imports on May 22 under an open tender scheme.
“With the expected arrival of fresh stocks for our food security and stabilization functions, the public will be watching us on how we can effectively stabilize, and possibly pull down rice prices,” Aquino told NFA field executives.
He also said that with high projections on the inflationary effects of the TRAIN Law, the agency can help mitigate these effects by ensuring that there is enough supply of cheap NFA rice in the markets.
Aquino said the NFA will continue to attune its plans to the agency’s role in the government’s pro-poor programs.
“The President is closely monitoring our country’s food security situation. We cannot afford to fail in this mandate,” he said.
He also admonished NFA officials to be conscious of their responsibilities as public servants.
“Now that we’re back on track, we should continue to exercise good housekeeping and accountability. Rice is our basic staple and we should never allow any rice crisis to happen,” Aquino said.
“When the imported NFA rice arrives, it should go directly to its intended beneficiaries: the poor, the marginalized, the victims of calamities, the isolated island provinces, and those who truly need government assistance for their daily sustenance,” he stressed.