Central Visayas has enough rice supply—Dino

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz - CDN Digital | March 19,2020 - 11:29 AM
enough rice supply

One of the biggest rice suppliers in Cebu shows there is enough rice supply amidst the threat of Covid-19. | Contributed photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Central Visayas has enough rice supply, according to Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas.

Dino issued the statement in an emailed press release to ease panic buying of rice following rumors that Cebu is suffering from rice shortage. He met with industry stakeholders Wednesday to discuss the situation.

Read: Panic buying causing shortage of commercial rice

During the meeting, Teresita “Nene” Alegado, president of the Grains Retailers Confederation (GRECON) Cebu chapter, explained that there is an abundant supply of rice from the private suppliers since they are no longer under the quota formerly imposed by the government. 

Under Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law, any supplier who is willing to pay the tariff can import rice.

With the assurance of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia that there would be no problem in the entry of supply from outside Cebu, there would be adequate rice, Alegado noted.

In fact, she said, the current supply of rice has more than doubled compared to what it was from the same period last year. She added that rice importers continued to buy rice and would not wait for the supply to run out.

Alegado revealed that rice coming in Cebu comes from Vietnam and Thailand. She added that the market now prefers higher-priced, better quality rice (five percent broken) so their retail price would be much higher than the ordinary rice. 

She urged the public to refrain from spreading the news of rice shortage because there is ample supply.

The National Food Authority (NFA) Central Visayas also said it currently has a buffer stock of 139,939 sacks of rice for the region.

Read: NFA-7 assures public there’s enough supply of rice

NFA-7 regional director Rocky Valdez said that the daily consumption of the region is at 36,420 sacks per day.

Basing on the current supply of NFA 7, and with the daily average sales of the NFA rice which is at 1,849 sacks, Valdez said that their current stock would still be enough for 76 days.

Valdez added that he had instructed all his provincial offices in Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, and Negros Oriental to prioritize local government units, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and other government agencies in availing of NFA rice.

He added that authorized retailers are only allowed to purchase 15 to 30 sacks of NFA rice per week.

The director also revealed that majority of the public opts to buy high-end and expensive quality of rice. NFA rice is priced at P27/kilo.

Secretary Dino warned all retailers not to take advantage of the current situation, as he will make sure all available sanctions will be imposed upon violators. 

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has imposed a price freeze for all basic goods. Violators will face fines from P5,000 to P1 million, and/or imprisonment of up to 10 years. /bmjo


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