Low buying price of palay compels rice importation – NFA

Marje Pelayo   •   September 3, 2018   •   5406

 

 

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The National Food Authority (NFA) explained why the government is compelled to import rice despite having its own rice granary.

NFA administrator Jason Aquino explained that the NFA Council has set the buying price of palay from local farmers to P17.00 per kilogram only whereas private traders buy clean and dry palay at P19 to P25 pesos per kilogram. This is the reason, according to Aquino, why farmers prefer to sell their yield to private traders.

Given the situation, the government opts to import rice in order to provide cheaper well-milled rice in the market.

Aquino said that though he heads the NFA Council, he cannot make a decision on his own.

“Kailangan po kasi ng approval ng buong konseho hindi lang ako ang membro ng konseho,” he argued.

But the NFA Council insists that there are other areas in the country where the government can buy low priced palay and suggests to the NFA to conduct further study to search for other sources.

“Gumawa po ng technical working group ang NFA council to study this proposal,” said Leonard Guevarra of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

But for Edwin Paraluman, a representative of the farmers’ sector in the NFA Council, the government should consider setting a competitive price in buying palay from local farmers. His group argued that such a low buying price would not help the farmers in their living.

With such a system, Paraluman said the government is just putting the Philippine farmers in a miserable state as compared to farmers in other countries.

“Ang magsasaka ang pinakamahirap na parte ng Pilipinas.  While we are the one producing food kami ang pinaka mahirap. Hinihiniling namin na taasan naman konti. Hindi ba pwede iyon?” he lamented. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Casin)

DA issues tougher guidelines on acquiring rice import permits

Marje Pelayo   •   November 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) maintains it is not stopping the issuance of permits to import rice.

“Hindi namin pinapa-stop (We are not stopping the importation.) We are implementing the law properly,” Secretary William Dar said.

Instead, the Department made the guidelines stricter which include inspection of storage houses.

On Tuesday (November 19), President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the suspension of rice importation because it is currently harvest time in the country.

According to the Federation of Free Farmers, stricter guidelines of rice importation is similar to stopping the process.

But they argue that the measure is just temporary while rice exporters are completing their requirements.

“In the meantime, na hindi sila maka-comply tigil muna ang export nila sa atin (In the meantime that they cannot comply, they need to stop exporting to us),” explained the farmers’ group’s Chairman Leonardo Montemayor.

The DA, meanwhile, will investigate farmers’ cooperatives and organizations who are using dummies in order to proceed with their importations.

“We will now look at three years of their business engagements kung may financial capability ba (if they have the financial capability),” Dar said.

“Mayroon ba silang warehouses? So lahat po ng pag-i-igting na iyon (Do they have warehouses? So we will intensify everything),” he added.

Dar said the President also wants to increase the buffer stocks of the National Food Authority (NFA) from 15 days to 30 days.

This would require the agency to purchase more palay from local farmers.

The NFA was also ordered to sell not lower than 20,000 sacks of rice per day.

Likewise, the unconditional cash transfer for farmers affected by the decreasing price of rice brought about by the rice tariffication law will be also be expanded to three years. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Duterte orders DA to suspend rice importation

Marje Pelayo   •   November 20, 2019

Filipino port workers unload sacks of rice, which are imported from Vietnam to be distributed by the National Food Authority (NFA), inside a ship docked at Surigao port, Mindanao, southern Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday (November 19) said he has ordered Agriculture Sec. William Dar to suspend rice importation because it’s harvest time for local rice.

He clarified, however, that rice importation is still necessary to maintain enough volume of rice supply in the country.

“Ang problema, hindi ka kasi makaasa dito sa producers (The problem is you cannot depend on the producers),” the President said.

“Magsabi sila: ‘Makatanim kami. Ma-harvest lang namin, (They should tell us: “We’ll plant rice. Give us time to harvest) we can fill up two-thirds or one-third of the requirement.’ Correct. Iyan ang sabi mo, pero hindi mo alam ang sitwasyon ng mundo mo (That’s what you believe but you don’t really know what’s happening in your industry),” he added.

Even so, the President said he has no plans of suspending the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law because he believes the law will solve problems in corruption in the country’s rice industry.

“What is the other remedy? Nothing. I cannot stop tariffication. Why? To erase corruption,” he said.

He also stressed that balancing rice supply through importation will prevent ‘food crisis.’

The President, nevertheless, assured that the government is willing to spend funds to support the needs of local farmers. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

NFA to reduce rice prices for retailers, gov’t agencies

Marje Pelayo   •   October 28, 2019

Filipino workers carry sacks of government-subsidized rice (NFA Rice) into a store selling various rice brands at a market in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, 04 October 2018. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – Retailers and government agencies may now purchase rice from the National Food Authority (NFA) at a reduced price of P25/kg, instead of P27/kg.

Such measure aims at expediting the disposal of NFA’s current buffer stocks, said DA Secretary William Dar.

“Para mas magaan, mas mabilis ang paglabas ng mga imported rice stocks [of the] National Food Authority,” he said.

Agencies which can avail the reduced price of NFA rice include the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Bureau of Corrections (Bucor), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and local government units (LGUs).

Meanwhile, retailers may also get an even lower price per kilogram of NFA rice at P23 instead of P25/kg.

However, this will still be sold to end-consumers at P27/kg thus retailers will be able to gain P200 higher profit for each sack of rice.

Rice retailer Teresita Terado said the disposal of NFA rice still depends on consumer preference.

“Ang taong-bayan naman ang bibili nyan, hindi naman kami. Kahit i-push namin siya kung hindi naman siya mabenta, (It’s the consumers who buy [the NFA rice] not us. We can’t push them to buy it if they don’t want to),” Terado, a rice retailer at Commonwealth Market, said.

But Teresita said there is not much difference between regular commercial rice and NFA rice when it comes to quality.

Consumer group Laban Konsyumer criticized the government’s economic managers for rejecting their proposal, which according to the group’s president Atty. Vic Dimagiba, led to the current state of NFA rice in the country.

“Our proposal was ignored because the economic managers believe then that the imported rice will bring down prices to 32 pesos a kilogram. That didn’t happen,” Dimagiba said.

“What’s happening now is a sort of deja vu. Cramming and bringing back NFA to the market actively,” he added.

Based on the NFA’s October 17 data, there are still 2.5 million sacks of imported rice for disposal in the agency’s warehouses.

Such imported rice shipment was last contracted in December 2018 and its delivery was completed in February 2019. — MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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