Solon wants DA at NFA Council
A lawmaker is seeking to revamp the policy-making body of the National Food Authority (NFA) to include officials from the Department of Agriculture (DA).
In a press statement, Butil Rep. Cecil Chavez said half of the membership of the 18-member council should go to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and other key officials from the DA.
Currently, agencies that are represented in the council include the Department of Trade and Industry, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Land Bank of the Philippines, Developmental Bank of the Philippines, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Finance and the Office of the President (OP).
“The glaring, hard-to-fathom noninclusion of Secretary Piñol and his key people in the council is akin to excluding the PNP (Philippine National Police) director general from top-level efforts to find the best policy on exterminating drugs and crime,” Chavez said.
“The DA, which is in charge of the production side, is the agency perfectly situated to provide data on the supply side and those are the specific data that the NFA council needs,” she added.
The lawmaker reasoned that the best agricultural economists and statisticians in the country are with the DA. Thus, the agency can provide specific data on the country’s food production and supply.
Historically, the DA has led the NFA council but this was changed during the Aquino administration when former President Benigno Aquino III transferred the NFA along with the National Irrigation Administration, Philippine Coconut Authority and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority to the OP.
Since then, the DA was also removed from the council.
Piñol has been lobbying for the agency to have a seat at the council again to have more say in the country’s rice importation program, adding that he disapproves of NFA’s private sector-led importation, calling it ineffective in terms of maintaining the country’s buffer stock.