February 10, 2018
MANILA – The price of commercial rice has already increased by P3 to P5 per kilo in some areas given the low supply of the subsidized commodity from the National Food Authority (NFA).
In Mega Q-Mart in Quezon City, where there is no more NFA rice being sold for several days, the price of commercial rice has already increased, according to retailers.
The regular-milled rice previously sold at P33 per kilo, now costs P36 per kilo.
The well-milled rice already costs P40 to P43 per kilo from its previous price of P37 per kilo.
Consumers in Bulan, Sorsogon were compelled to buy expensive commercial rice, given the absence of supply of NFA rice in their area for almost three weeks.
A retailer in Ormoc City said that supply of NFA rice was cut since last week. Likewise, in Dumaguete City, the selling of NFA rice has been limited to two kilos a day in some stores.
BantayBigas has staged a protest in front of the NDA office in Quezon City.
“Walang price control anggobyerno kaya sapanahonnaganitona nag-create na may euphoria ngkrisissabigassaNFA ay talagangnagtaasanP3 to P4 ang increase sakadakilo,” Cathy Estabillo of BantayBigas said.
The NFA is the agency mandated to ensure that the there is enough supply of subsidized rice to balance the prices of commercial rice.
NFA administrator Jason Aquino, however, admitted that the buffer stock of NFA rice was down to only two days.
The agency is still waiting the approval of the NFA Council for them to be allowed to import 250,000 metric tons of rices.
“Iyong standby authority nasinasabi?Ayun, naka-standby, ganun pa rin.Masyadong misnomer iyonhanggangngayonwala pa ring approval,” Aquino said.
The NFA is trying to buy from local farmers but to no avail since the price they’re offering is too low at P17 per kilo.
Cabinet secretary and NFA Council chairman LeoncioEvasco, however, said that the council has already approved in January the NFA’s standby importation of 250,000 metric tons of rice
Evasco said that the 250,000 metric tons is not yet needed since 325,000 metric tons of rice previously purchased by the NFA is already arriving.
“Wondering if NFA report of alleged two-day rice buffer stock is only a drama to pressure the council into buying 250,000 metric tons more of rice,” Evasco said.
Agriculture secretary Manny Piñol, for his part, said that there is no reason for the prices of commercial rice to increase despite the abscence of NFA rice.
“Somebody is making a kill and obviously the money doesn’t go to the farmer, and the consumers are being robbed in broad daylight,” Piñol said.
According to the Department of Agriculture said it will open NFA outlets to sell a maximum of 20 kilos per buyer at P38 per kilo in its central office in Quezon City and the Burea of Plant Industry’s compund in San Andres, Manila next week. (GMA News)