Rice demand shoots up 10 times to 2,500 sacks per day in Eastern Visayas
PALO, Leyte — Demand for cheaper government rice in Eastern Visayas increased more than 10 times amid rising prices, the National Food Authority (NFA) regional office here said Thursday.
From the average 6,000 bags monthly average sales during “normal days”, the volume went up to more than 76,000 bags in the past four weeks, said Raymond Tafalla, NFA Eastern Visayas assistant regional manager, in an interview.
Tafalla said since the arrival of the first shipment of Thailand rice on the third week of August, the NFA has been distributing an average of 2,544 bags daily, way more than the 200 bags average daily sales last year.
“The higher demand is expected because the price of commercial rice is high. We are ready to provide the rice requirement in the region while the price has not yet stabilized,” Tafalla said.
In the last two weeks of August, the NFA sold 15,479 bags of rice. From September 1 to 18, at least 61,167 bags have been distributed to consumers.
Emma Dagami, 49, of Caloogan village, this town, has to walk five kilometers to buy five kilograms of rice from a makeshift store set up outside the NFA office here. The supply is enough for the family’s three-day staple requirement.
“Our income from vegetables farming is very minimal. If we will buy rice at PHP50 per kilogram, we won’t have budget to buy fish and other needs,” Dagami said.
As of Wednesday, the region’s state-run warehouses have stocks of 149,558 bags coming from two rice shipments.
After months of zero stocks, the region received on August 17 at least 79,000 bags of rice, representing the first batch of rice allocation for the region. After a few days, another ship unloaded 140,000 bags.
The unloading of 100,000 bags is ongoing this week at the Tacloban seaport. The region expects to receive 161,000 bags of Thai rice to complete the 480,000-bag local requirement until end of December.
Teams have been deployed to the market to make sure that government rice was being sold at a cheaper price or at PP 32 per kilo.
Commercial rice is available in the regional capital at P39 to P54 per kilo, up from the P35 to P45 price range early this year. (PNA)