NFA ups rice deliveries 25-50 percent, keeps close watch on price violators
Manila (11 September) -- The National Food Authority (NFA) has increased by 25-50 percent rice deliveries to its 31,400 outlets nationwide to soften the impact of the high prices of commercial rice on the public.
NFA Deputy Administrator Ludovico Jarina also assured consumers that the "price of NFA rice remains at P18 per kilo nationwide."
During the taping this afternoon of The Cabinet Speaks, a television program hosted by Press Undersecretary Martin Crisostomo over NBN TV, Jarina reiterated that despite the long dry season being experienced by farmers in many parts of the country, the public can rest assured that there is enough supply of low-priced rice.
The price of commercial rice rose to P26-P27 per kilo two weeks ago, prompting NFA to immediately increase deliveries of NFA rice to its outlets.
Aside from the regular NFA outlets, low-priced NFA rice is also available at the 8,140 Tindahan Natin that have been established in line with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's hunger mitigation program.
In addition, 197 NFA rolling stores make three regular trips a week to depressed areas of the country to sell rice, Jarina said.
NFA employees are also closely monitoring the movement of rice supply in Metro Manila's 252 markets to ensure that NFA rice is not diverted to unauthorized outlets or sold above the fixed price of P18 a kilo, he added.
The NFA official also appealed to the public to report to the NFA -- mobile phone No. 0917-6210927 -- any outlet selling NFA rice above P18 a kilo.
Jarina said the extended dry spell has delayed planting and harvesting by one to two months from August-September to September-November in most parts of the country.
To beef up the NFA rice inventory, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has approved the importation of an additional 260,000 metric tons (MTs) of the cereal from Thailand and Vietnam.
With the rice importation and the onset of the harvest season, Jarina said the projected NFA rice inventory by end-December would be good for 50 days.
As part of the rice self-sufficiency program by 2010, the government is currently rehabilitating and maintaining irrigation projects and farm-to-market roads, and espousing the use of hybrid rice varieties and modern techniques and facilities such as mechanical dryers, Jarina said.
These measures, Jarina added, would help farmers increase production, reduce post-harvest losses, lead to steady supply of rice, and end the regime of rice importation. (PIA) [top]