Despite rice importation law, NFA will still sell affordable rice–Piñol
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has assured the public that the National Food Authority (NFA) will still sell subsidized rice despite the passage of the Rice Import Liberalization Act.
Piñol said the state-run grains agency would need to dispose of the palay it was buying from farmers, and one way to do that was to sell it to the market.
“While the NFA won’t be allowed to import rice anymore … the fact remains that the NFA would still be procuring locally produced rice,” he said.
“It follows then that the NFA, even under the new rice regime, will really have to release that stock in the market,” he added.
Piñol, who is also part of the team formulating the law’s implementing rules and regulations, said a guideline would be created as to how the grains agency would sell the staple.
“For example, if the agency reaches the optimal volume for its buffer stocking and there has been no emergencies or calamities, then the NFA would have to sell the stock. Otherwise, it will rot,” said the secretary, who is also the acting head of the NFA.
Piñol said the government could auction off its stock, subsidize the sale of local rice or adjust the selling price of NFA rice to make sure the agency would not lose money in the process.
About 10 million Filipinos rely on NFA rice, which is sold at P27 to P32 a kilo.
Sen. Cynthia Villar earlier said that President Duterte himself gave assurance that the agency would still sell NFA rice.
“The President said that even with rice tariffication and liberalization of the rice industry, the NFA shall continue to provide the public with rice that is affordable and safe,” she said. —KARL R. OCAMPO
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.