NFA-7 assures sufficiency of rice stocks in Central Visayas
CEBU CITY, Philippines — An official from the National Food and Authority in Central Visayas (NFA-7) said that there is sufficient supply of NFA rice ready in case of calamities or disaster.
“We assure the public that we have sufficient supply [of rice]. Daghan pa ta’g dawaton sa Region 4,” NFA-7 Director Maria Fe Evasco said in an interview with CDN Digital.
(We have a lot to receive from Region 4.)
Since the passage of the Republic Act 11203, or the Rice Tariffication Law, NFA has been focusing on buffer stocking to respond to calamities and emergencies.
Evasco said that NFA buffers through the Palay Procurement Program, which means that the agency buys palay (rice) directly from local farmers.
Central Visayas has approximately 80,000 metric tons of rice but they are also expecting shipments from Region 4, their main source. A ton of rice is equivalent to 20 bags of rice which weighs 50 kilos.
As of this writing, Evasco said that Region 4 still has to supply the National Capital Region, then Central Visayas will be catered after.
She stated that the Rice Tariffication Law “clipped” the functions and powers of NFA to intervene in the market through their retailers.
The law also clipped their regulatory function where they license their rice retailers.
Moreover, the law also abolished their ability to import rice.
Buying rice from local farmers
According to Evasco, buying rice from the local farmers can boost their income. The support price is currently pegged at P19 per kilo.
Evasco said that their primary client is the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) because the said agency handles rice distribution.
DSWD buys rice from NFA, especially for the family food packs.
Along with the DSWD, the clients of NFA are also the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the local government units during times of calamities only.
In Central Visayas, the procurement areas are found in Bohol and Negros Oriental.
Before the Rice Tariffication Law, NFA imported rice mainly from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries like Thailand, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, and China, besides the local procurement of rice.
NFA rice quality
The regional director stated that the quality of NFA rice is “very good” and is competitive with the rice sold commercially.
There have been comments from people before about the poor quality of NFA rice, with this Evasco said that is a misconception and is not true.
“Murag preconceived notion (of people) nga basta NFA, maot. Low quality,” she said. (It’s a preconceived notion that if it’s from NFA, it’s bad. Low quality.)
After the Typhoon Odette hit Central Visayas in December 2021, she said that the agency disposed of almost 100,000 bags of rice.
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