‘Bigasan ng Masa’ in Zamboanga City opens on Saturday
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the Department of Agriculture (DA) will open on Saturday its TienDA Bigasan ng Masa In Zamboanga City to address the spiralling prices of commercial rice in the market.
“The TienDA Bigasan ng Masa will offer regular and well-milled rice produced by farmers who were given Rice Processing facilities by the DA at prices much lower than those sold the markets of the city now,” Piñol said.
Prices of commercial rice in Zamboanga City and the island provinces Basilan, Sulu and Tawitawi shot up following the closure of rice smuggling operations in the Southern Border with Sabah, Malaysia.
For years, these areas have relied on smuggled rice, abandoning the local rice production programs.
Smuggled rice was openly sold in the market and even legitimate rice traders closed shop because they could not compete with the smugglers.
“On Saturday, I will also invite local officials to a meeting to convince them to focus once again on their local rice production programs,” Piñol said.
“At the same time, they will be asked to submit the Local Food Security Plan so that DA could provide interventions,” he added.