Villar seeks Senate probe into NFA rice shortage
MANILA, Philippines – Senate committee on agriculture chairperson Cynthia Villar called for an investigation into the shortage of supply of affordable National Food Authority (NFA) rice.
Villar on Tuesday, February 6, filed Senate Resolution No. 608, directing the proper committee to probe the issue.
"There is a need to look into the supply of NFA rice for the consuming public and NFA in fulfilling its administrative capabilities to respond to the need of the people," the resolution reads.
NFA spokesperson Rebecca Olarte, in an earlier statement, confirmed that the NFA has temporarily stopped the issuance of NFA rice to accredited retailers due to low supply. It has requested a permit to import an additional 250,000 metric tons to ensure rice availability.
Villar noted that the same thing happened last year, in March and in July, even if the NFA is required to keep a 15-day buffer stock at any given time.
In June 2017, the Philippines' quantitative restriction (QR) on rice expired. The QR allows the government to limit the volume of rice that could be imported each year.
With the expiration, the government is moving towards the tariff system. Villar said local rice producers are expected to suffer from the "adverse effects of cheap rice imports."
"[The NFA] should be responsible to respond to natural and artificial shortages of rice or buffer stocking," she said.
Currently, NFA rice sells for P27 to P32 per kilogram, while commercial rice costs P36 to P41 per kilo. – Rappler.com
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