NFA to focus distribution of rice

NFA to focus distribution of rice

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - May 20, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Food Authority (NFA) is now finalizing the list of select areas that would benefit from the government’s subsidized rice program amid a new rice regime in the country.

NFA officer-in-charge Tomas Escarez said the grains agency would soon come up with the list of its focus distribution areas as NFA will still unload rice in the domestic market.

“It is up for approval already. It will be more on the provincial levels. In areas where commercial rice is cheap, no need to distribute,” Escarez told The STAR.

“In Batanes, for example, almost 70 percent is dependent on NFA rice and once you pull that out, it will be costly for them to buy commercial rice. Government can only handle that,” he added.

With the open market for rice, NFA has been clipped of its importing powers and is now focused on local procurement for buffer stocking emergency.

NFA will continue to refresh its stocks which means that excess supply would have to be released to market.

NFA’s move for focus distribution aims to ensure that only poor households will benefit from cheap rice prices.

This after the National Economic and Development Authority urged the NFA to study which areas would continue to be given supply of NFA rice in case there are extra stocks.

“We are going to be studying because there are different factors – calamity, deficiency of rice supply, portion of poor households in those areas. There are several factors we have to study,” NEDA said.

The government assured that NFA would retain its selling price of P27 per kilogram.

Based on the 2015 Family Income and Expenditure Survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), NFA rice accounted for only 7.2 percent of total rice consumption in the country.

Of this, around 43 percent was consumed by non-poor households.

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