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PIA Press Release

No rice shortage in Kalinga, Ifugao - NFA

TABUK CITY (8 September) -- The National Food Authority (NFA) assured there is no shortage on rice supply in the province contrary to rumors and text messages going around that distributors and market outlets of NFA rice are out of stock.

According to NFA Manager Engr. Eduardo A. Mercado, the province has sufficient supply even as he called on the public not to panic. He said 11,000 cavans is available and an additional 10,000 is coming. "The additional request for a buffer stock will be available before October this year," he said.

Mercado explained that supply decreased during the long dry spell because supply import from Vietnam was delayed. "Since the drought was a calamity, NFA has to decrease also its allocation to rice distributors from 20 to 10 bags a week in order to have a stock for food security guaranteed for distribution when the situation comes to worst," he explained adding that this is only temporary.

To dispel public doubt, Mercado called on all distributors from the province for a dialogue at his office to discuss improving distribution and on the compliance with rules and regulations relative to the business.

Asst. NFA Manager Enrique Baliang said some distributors are violating rules and regulations like diverting their supply allocation to commercial or non-NFA license rice supply dealers. One retailer admitted they do that since it is easier to dispose their allocation instead of retailing it which takes a longer period.

But Baliang pointed out that NFA supply is easily disposed because of its very low price but good quality rice.

To check on violators, NFA will regularly monitor distributors and continue to meet with their partners down to the market level to practice fair business. Baliang said NFA has already penalized 6 retailers in Rizal requiring them to pay P1,000.00 each for diversion, stock and price tag violation.

During the dialogue, members of the rice retailer confederation (RECON) vowed to abide with the law and maintain their outlets as source of supply for the most number of consumers in the municipalities.

The NFA also organized a Palengke watch and is working with members of the media to jointly promote the anti-poverty mitigating program of President Arroyo. NFA warned those distributors committing rice adulteration, under weighing and over pricing of NFA rice that their licenses and accreditation will be revoked and face stiffer penalties.

NFA rice is sold to distributors at P16.50 a kilo or P850 per bag. Distributors retail it to P18.00 a kilo or P900.00 per cavan. Compared to commercial rice which is sold at P24.00 P26.00 a kilo or P1,200 P1,250 per cavan.

On their rolling store, Baliang said 50 cavans are being rolled out for sale every market day in Bulanao and Dagupan market. NFA has 119 bigasang bayan outlets in the province.

Meanwhile, due to the price increase of commercial rice, the demand for NFA rice Ifugao increased.

Carmencita Galvez of the NFA Ifugao said the NFA rice which is still sold at P18.00 per kilo and P900.00 per sack is selling like hot pandesal in the different outlets in the province because of the increase in prices of commercial rice from P25.00 to P28.00 per kilo. The increase started in July this year because of the effect of the dry season, she added.

Galvez also disclosed that the NFA is only allowed to allocate 10% within the marketing plan. The commercial rice will produce the other 90%.

According to Galvez, the NFA had been distributing 7,000 sacks every month to 40 Tindahan Natin; 105 accredited outlets which are located in the 11 municipalities here and 1 Bigasan ni Gloria sa Palengke in Alfonso Lista.

Galvez assured that there will be a steady supply of NFA rice in the province by increasing the 10% allocation to 15%. (PIA) [top]

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