NFA cannot compete with private rice traders, says farmer sector rep | Inquirer News

NFA cannot compete with private rice traders, says farmer sector rep

/ 03:31 PM September 03, 2018

The National Food Authority (NFA) cannot compete with private rice traders because it still purchases grains at a lower price, translating to a lesser revenue for rice farmers, according to a council member.

“Kasi ‘yong 17 pesos niyo (buying price) is really very low, hindi na pwedeng makabili ang National Food Authority, kaya siguro Mr. Chair, binayad na lang nila sa utang, hindi nila maipambili eh,” Edwin Paraluman, farmer sector representative to the NFA council, explained on Monday.

“Kasi wala silang mabili sa magsasaka dahil pagharvest pa lang kinukuha na ng P24, samantalang namimili sila ng P17, clean and dry, pag ‘yong mga traders, namimili ng P24, basa pa. So saan sila pupulutin?” he asked.


Paraluman made the statements during NFA’s budget hearing after House Committee on Appropriations Chair Rep. Karlo Nograles asked NFA officials why it used funds allocated to procure grains to pay withstanding loans.


“That’s the mandate of NFA, that’s the primary reason of the subsidy para matulungan natin ang ating mga lokal na magsasaka,” Nograles claimed.

“Nagbibigay po ng bilyon-bilyon ang gobyerno sa inyo, ang kongreso sa inyo para bumili ng palay. Imbis, ginamit ‘yong pera sa pagbayad ng utang sa landbank at sa DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines),” he added.

In Early August, the Commission on Audit flagged the agency’s diversion of its funds.

Nograles said during the NFA’s previous budget hearing that its officials, including Administrator Jason Aquino, could be held liable for technical malversation.

READ: NFA chief faces graft raps for diversion of rice funds

Nograles also reprimanded NFA officials, saying that inability to compete with private traders is not a valid reason to go against the General Appropriations Act because it would set a dangerous precedent.


“Hindi pwedeng i-divert sa ibang kung ano-anong paggagamitan ng pera, kasi kung ginagawa ng NFA ‘yan, nothing will stop other agencies and departments from diverting their funds elsewhere,” he said.   /vvp

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