NFA assures sufficient rice supply for Bicol
by MA Loterte and RB Manlangit
Legazpi City (14 January) -- The National Food Authority (NFA) in Bicol has assured sufficient rice supply for the region enough to meet the need for 111 days.
Nelsie Alcantara, NFA Bicol regional information officer, bared NFA inventory of rice as of today in warehouses throughout Bicol stands at 1,427,517 million bags, sufficient for 111 days requirements.
Alcantara said that the agency, on the other hand, has placed measures to cushion the increase in prices of commercial rice in the market, adding that acquisition of palay from local farmers goes on in anticipation of possible price hike in commercial rice.
She said that majority of rice reserved in Bicol are imported.
"In case price of commercial rice goes up, NFA rice remains at a lower price," she noted.
Price of commercial rice traditionally hikes during off harvest seasons and traders peg the staple's price based on their palay buying price.
Alcantara explained, "The rule of thumb in rice trading is to double the price of palay when sold as rice. For example, if traders bought palay at P17 per kilogram, they would sell rice at P34 per kg."
"The coming summer harvest that usually starts in February will further boost the food security stocks we have in our warehouses," she said.
She stressed that it has always been the policy of NFA to maintain a high yearend inventory of rice and preposition stocks strategically to give consumers ready access supply.
"This is to protect the consumers from any unwarranted increase in the price of the staple," she said
"With adequate buffer stocks in every province, such makes it easier for NFA to increase the volume of rice distribution whenever demand goes up or when infusion of rice from the private sector slows down," she added.
Alcantara also said the proactive rice importation made for 2010 coupled with the intensive palay procurement in 2009 despite the typhoons is expected to put the agency in a better stock position this year.
Meanwhile, Jose Danilo Nieves, provincial manager of NFA Camarines Norte, assured residents that the province has enough supply for the next 32 days based on daily consumption.
Nieves also assured that public that NFA has put up measures to cushion the reported price hike in rice which was already observed in some Metro Manila areas.
He said that starting this week, they will again sell rice at P18.25 per kilo, in line with the pro-poor program or for sale at Tindahan Natin outlets in barangays and parishes.
NFA will also continue selling rice at P25.00 and P30.00 per kilo in Bigasang Bayan located in public markets across the province.
He added that NFA will also continue their price monitoring of rice and no price hike in rice increase as of press time. (PIA V/PIA CamNorte) [top]