NFAC approves DA’s proposal to set up rice trading center in Tawi-Tawi
The National Food Authority (NFA) Council, the highest policy making body that supervises NFA, has approeved the proposal of the Department of Agriculture to put up a rice trading center in Tawi-tawi to finally stop rice smuggling in the islands in the Southern Philippines.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Tawitawi Rice Trading Center is expected to give government full control of the illegal rice trading in the ZAMBASULTA Area (Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, Tawitawi) which for decades now has been operated by smugglers.
It will also provide the ZAMBASULTA area the needed rice supply, which was cut following the successful operations by government against rice smuggling operations between Sabah and the Southern Islands.
“The government loses an estimated P2 billion in revenues which is believed to go to the pockets of corrupt officials of government agencies in the area. The smuggled rice, which reaches as far as Central Visayas, also threatens rice farmers in the main island of Mindanao,” Piñol said.
Under the Rice Trading Center proposal of the DA, the government will establish a facility in Tawitawi where all imported rice brought in will have to be documented, with proper tariffs paid and sanitary and pytho-sanitary quarantine requirements are complied with.
The volume of rice which would be allowed to be brought in should not be more than the per capita consumption of the ZAMBASULTA Area, the DA proposal states.
The Tawitawi Rice Trading Center is one of the several immediate measures being presented by the DA to address the ZAMBASULTA Rice Crisis.