Local rice retail leader back junking of NFA Council

By Rosalie O. Abatayo |September 11,2018 - 11:25 PM

A RICE trade leader in Cebu has expressed support on the plan of President Rodrigo Duterte to recommend the abolition of the National Food Authority (NFA) Council.

Erwin Goc-ong, president of the Cebu Market Vendors Cooperative (Cemvedco), said that the abolition may mean that the NFA can work better in injecting cheaper rice products in the market amid the skyrocketing prices of commercial rice.

“Mouyon ko. (I agree.) It will do good for the NFA [if the council will be abolished],” Goc-ong said in an interview on Tuesday.

The NFA Council, which is headed by the NFA administrator, decides how the NFA should act, including when to import and the mode of importation.

The council was earlier peppered with criticisms after allegedly failing to respond promptly to the shortage in rice supply in the market which led to the spike in the prices of rice.

Goc-ong said the cheaper rice imported by the NFA and injected in the market is the real time, albeit short term, solution that has kept the public sane amid the rising prices of commercial rice.

“In my more than 30 years in the rice industry, this is one of the few times that people look for NFA rice whenever the price of commercial rice is high. The presence of NFA rice in the market fulfills one of the basic needs of the people which is to eat,” Goc-ong said.

Goc-ong said that when the council would be abolished, he expected that the NFA administration would be able to find ways to put more rice supply in the market.

President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday that he planned to recommend the abolition of the NFA Council amid the increase in prices of rice in the market.

“I will recommend to Congress the abolition of the National Food Council. It has no purpose,” Duterte said during his tete-a-tete with Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo in Malacañang, which was aired on national television and web streaming.

President Duterte made the statement after inflation reached a new nine-year high of 6.4 percent in August.

The president also said that NFA administrator Jason Aquino has asked to be relieved from his post because the latter was already “tired.”

Goc-ong said another change in leadership in the council will not be a good sign for the performance of the NFA.

“Mag-ilis na og liderato, bag-o nga policies, bag-o nga direction in managing the agency. That will not be beneficial for the NFA,” Goc-ong said. /WITH INQUIRER.Net

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