Rice retailers warned against capitalizing on NFA shortage
Gerry Lee Gorit (The Philippine Star) - April 14, 2018 - 12:00am

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY , Philippines  — Sen. Cynthia Villar yesterday warned rice retailers against taking advantage of the depletion of the National Food Authority (NFA)’s rice stocks.

Speaking at the 27th National Hog Convention in the city, Villar called on local government units to watch out for retailers hoarding commercial rice and selling these at a high price to take advantage of the absence of cheap NFA rice.

Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture, reiterated that there is no rice shortage in the country, only the cheaper NFA rice stocks had run out.

“There is no rice shortage, there are many commercial rice varieties available,” she added.

With the depletion of NFA rice stocks, the prices of commercial rice have jacked up more by as much as P4 per kilo, according to the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya).

“This new round of rice price hike will pose additional burden to the fishing sector, which belong to  the country’s poorest of the poor. President Duterte’s band-aid solution to import another batch of 250,000 metric tons of imported rice is anti-Filipino and negates the country’s pursuit for rice self-sufficiency,” Pamalakaya chairman Fernando Hicap said in a statement.

Rice watchdog Bantay Bigas pointed out that the Philippine government’s policy on rice is under the framework of World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Agriculture, which has obligated the Philippines to import rice even if it does not need it: “The NFA patronizes imported rice not only because it is cheaper but to comply with the government’s commitment to the foreign-dictated WTO.” – With Ding Cervantes

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