Sale of NFA rice stocks at P29/kilo OK’d

Jasper Emmanuel Arcalas, Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
Sale of NFA rice stocks at P29/kilo OK�d
National Food Authority rice stocks.
File photo courtesy of NFA

MANILA, Philippines — The National Food Authority Council has approved the recommendation to sell aging but good NFA rice stocks at P29 per kilo through Kadiwa stores, Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said yesterday.

Tiu Laurel added that the Bigas 29 low-priced rice program will address the minimum basic needs of individuals below the poverty threshold.

Vulnerable sectors like persons with disabilities, solo parents, senior citizens and indigenous people, who collectively comprise 6.9 million households or over 34 million Filipinos, will benefit from the P29 per kilo of rice, he said.

“Each beneficiary household is entitled to purchase 10 kilos per month, requiring rice supply of 69,000 metric tons every month. A dry run of the cheaper rice program is already underway in select Kadiwa centers, and has been well received by potential beneficiaries,” Tiu Laurel said.

He said the Bigas 29 is part of President Marcos’ vision of a food secure Philippines, where basic commodities are affordably priced and easily accessible, especially to poor Filipinos.

According to Tiu Laurel, the implementation of the P29 per kilo rice will cost the government between P1.39 billion and P1.53 billion per month.

To secure rice supply for the initiative, the DA plans to import 363,697 metric tons of rice to augment national buffer stocks, while the NFA will procure 559,535 MT of palay from local farmers

The estimated cost of securing rice buffer stocks to cover 19 days of national consumption is at least P28.39 billion.

The government aims to roll out the Bigas-29 program nationwide in early July, he added.

The proposed import plan is on the table but details have yet to become firm pending the amendments to the Rice Tariffication Law, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Nonetheless, the priority of the government, agriculture spokesman Arnel de Mesa said, is still the procurement of palay from local farmers.

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