NFA assures stable rice supply despite El Niņo
by Christine S. Parinas
Butuan City (16 March) -- Regional Director Gil Pepito B. Paqueo assured the public of the availability of NFA rice to last a few months despite the threat of prolonged drought brought by the El Niņo weather pattern this year.
RD Paqueo said that 128,750 bags of imported rice on board M/V BINH PHOUC and 120,000 bags unloaded from M/V VINH HUNG respectively from Thailand and Vietnam arrived recently at the port of Surigao City to beef up the stock inventory of the region. He also disclosed that the third vessel is due to drop anchor this week with a shipment of 130,000 bags of Vietnam rice in Surigao City port.
This supply, he said, is part of the 1.6 million bags expected to arrive in the region this year. The region's share in the rice importation has increased by 300,000 bags from the original procurement plan of 1.3 million bags as part of the El Nino mitigation plan. These rice imports will also cater the needs of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Province of Dinagat Islands.
With the regional consumption rate of 22,800 bags on the average daily, the NFA can sustain the market demand for the next 127 days. "With this inventory, we are capable of flooding the market with the commodity (and prevent) attempts to manipulate price and (put) consumers at a disadvantaged position," said Paqueo.
He also noted that while prices of commercial rice have gone up slightly, NFA rice continues to be sold at P18.25 and P25 per kilo. "It is the agency's commitment to make NFA rice available and visible in the market in order for the consumer to buy rice at low prices", he said.
He then urged the public to send their comments, suggestions, queries and complaints in case of rice diversion, rebagging and overpricing to NFA office at (085) 342-7898. (NFA-13/PIA-Caraga) [top]