No rice shortage in PH, NFA assures public
The National Food Authority (NFA) assured the public on Tuesday that there was no rice shortage in the country even though the agency only has two days’ worth of buffer stock.
NFA spokesperson Rebecca Olarte said that there was no rice shortage in the country as the total rice stock in the country—including inventories of the NFA and commercial rice producers—is at 2.7 million metric tons (MT), which is good for 86 days.
“Wala namang rice shortage per se, kasi ‘yung total inventory kapag pinagsama yung commercial saka household stocks ay sobra sobra, 2.7 million (MT) good for 86 days. Ang kulang lang sa ngayon ay buffer stock ng NFA kaya walang shortage kung tutuusin, we have more than enough,” Olarte said in a phone interview with INQUIRER.net.
(There is no rice shortage per se because the inventory when you total the commercial and household stocks are more than enough—2.7 million MT for 86 days. What is inadequate is the buffer stock of the NFA, so there is no shortage to begin with because we have more than enough.)
Olarte said that the NFA, in general, could not meet the 15-day buffer stock, as recommended by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council, because there is significant price difference between the NFA and commercial rice traders: businessmen buy palay (unhusked rice) at P17 to P23 per kilo, while the agency only buys at P17 per kilo.
The series of natural and man-made calamities last year—including the Marawi City siege, tropical storms Urduja, Vinta, and Agaton—have also depleted the NFA’s rice inventory.
She noted that only 8 to 9 percent of the public buys NFA rice so the limited supply has minimal impact on rice supply and prices.
Olarte explained that the NFA had decreased its distribution in the market and prioritized distributing stocks in calamity-prone areas, like the province of Albay, and highly-depressed regions.
“Well-secured ‘yung stock para sa mga calamity areas, well-secured ‘yon, una munang itinabi yon kaya nga medyo nag-slow down dun sa distribution sa mga market, para ‘yung natitirang buffer stock ay maituon sa mga nangangailangan,” she said.
(The stocks in calamity areas are well-secured. That is the first to be reserved that is why we slowed down in distributing rice in the market so that the remaining buffer stock will go to those in need.)
In Albay where the restive Mayon volcano has displaced thousands of residents, the NFA has distributed 24,426 sacks of rice and has stand-by stock of 16,404 rice bags good for 16 days.
If the inventory gets depleted, Olarte said, other provinces in the Bicol region could send their own stock to feed the evacuees. /je
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.