NFA should increase rice buffer stock, Marcos says | Inquirer News

NFA should increase rice buffer stock, Marcos says

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 09:40 PM April 13, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday said the National Food Authority (NFA) should increase its rice buffer stock, which is currently “too low.”

Marcos said the NFA should increase its buffer stock to last for at least nine days, adding that the government will also determine if it needs to import rice.


“Magpa-plano kami kung kailangan mag-import, kung kailangan magpahaba, magparami ng buffer stock sa NFA dahil masyado ng mababa. ‘Yun lang ang nakita naming problema, mababa ‘yung buffer stock ng NFA. Kailangan bumili ‘yung NFA para umabot siya ng at least nine days na buffer stock,” he said in a video interview.


(We will plan whether we would need to import and if we need to increase NFA’s buffer stock because it is too low. That’s the problem we saw, the buffer stock of the NFA. The NFA needs to buy rice so that its buffer stock would last at least nine days.)

Marcos, who concurrently serves as the Agriculture Secretary, noted that NFA needs to buy its buffer stock from local producers, which in turn drives up the price of rice. To avoid this, he said, the purchase of rice buffer stocks should be staggered.

“Ang problema, kapag sila ay pumasok sa merkado, ‘pag sila’y namili na para i-replace ‘yung buffer stock na kulang nila ay tataas naman ang presyo ng bigas dahil marami silang bibilin,” he said.

(The problem is, when they go to the market to buy their buffer stock, the prices of rice in local markets will increase.)

“Kaya’t ‘yun ang hinahanapan namin ng paraan para i-adjust. Siguro ang magagawa natin ay ang pagbili ay hindi bigla. Hindi malaki. Also, you have to remember. This is agriculture; cyclical ito, by season ito,” Marcos added.

(So that’s what we’re finding out how to adjust. Maybe what we can do is when we buy rice, it should not be all at once. Also, we have to remember that this is agriculture; this is cyclical, by season.)


The government, the President said, needs to make sure that the NFA will be able to build up its buffer stocks for now.

He also assured the public that the rice supply in the country is “generally in good shape” and there would be no shortage in the coming months.

Marcos added that the government is exhausting all efforts to control the price of rice so that it would not increase.

“Mukha namang maganda ang sitwasyon natin. Hindi tayo magkukulang sa bigas. At tinitingnan natin lahat ng paraan upang ang presyo ay ma-control natin at hindi naman masyadong tataas,” the President said.

(It seems that we are in a good situation. There would be no shortage of rice. We are also exhausting all efforts to control the price of rice so it will not increase.)

“In terms of the general supply for the country, I think we are in good shape. And although we’ll still have to import, our importations have come down.  Our agricultural sector is beginning to come back beyond pre-pandemic levels. And so that’s progressing nicely,” he added.

PH rice supply

Under the DA 2023 supply outlook, the country’s total supply is at 16.98 million metric tons (MMT), which is sufficient to cover this year’s demand estimated at 15.29 MMT.

“This would leave the country with an ending balance of 1.69 MMT, which is equivalent to 45 days of buffer stock, instead of the 90-day ideal buffer stock to stabilize the price of rice,” a DA briefer earlier said.

During the meeting with the President in Malacañang, the NFA proposed the importation of 330,000 MT of rice to cover an expected deficit in the country’s buffer stock for the relief operations of various agencies in the event of calamities this year.

According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), agriculture officials said the proposed buffer stock of rice is equivalent to nine days of national consumption from July 2023 onwards and will ensure sufficient volume for calamity and relief requirements from July to December this year.

Given the NFA’s budgetary constraints, the agency expects its buffer stock will decrease to less than 500,000 sacks by July 2023, which is equivalent to less than a day of public consumption.

Under the NFA’s proposed rice importation strategy, the agency suggests that the rice importation arrangement be undertaken through government-to-government transactions, either through the Office of the President or its designated agency.

Republic Act No. 11203 has removed the regulatory and import licensing issuance functions of the NFA and reduced its mandate to emergency buffer stocking of rice sourced solely from local farmers and allowed the private sector to freely import rice subject to a tariff.

The PCO said the NFA may use its credit lines with the Development Bank of the Philippines and/or the Land Bank to finance the importation and provide logistics and management support.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) can procure imported stocks from the NFA and exclusively manage the final disposition.

As of April 6, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) has issued 989 Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance (SPSIC) applications for 3.170 MMT volume of rice applied out of the 3,024 SPSICs.

Of this volume, 790,449.12 MT of imported rice has arrived, the PCO said.

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Among those who met the President were Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban, Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian, Undersecretary Mercedita Sombilla, Assistant Secretary Rex Estoperez, NFA Administrator Roderico Bioco, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel De Mesa and Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Director Gerald Glenn Panganiban.

READ: Bongbong Marcos on P20 per kilo rice: Coming soon

TAGS: Marcos, NFA, NFA rice

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