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 mgaimported 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)
MANILA, Philippines – The National Food Authority (NFA) Council approved on Tuesday (March 5) the amended implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Rice Tariffication Law.
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol on his social media post explained that based on the approved IRR, the NFA will adopt the “rolling buffer stocking” concept and buy local farmers yield all-year round with an optimal level of buffer stocks good for 30 days.
Once the optimal level is reached, the NFA will be allowed to dispose old rice stocks “to prevent spoilage” because milled rice cannot be kept beyond six months.
This overrides the provision of R.A. 11203 that NFA could only release stocks during emergencies because the agency would need to dispose stocks to prevent spoilage.
Therefore, the current stocks of imported rice will be released to grain retailers at P27/kg until August this year.
By September, Piñol said they will start buying rice from local farmers which will be released to the markets as NFA low-priced milled rice.
The price, however, will depend on the market price of locally-produced rice by that time to ensure that the NFA does not lose its revenue.
Secretary Piñol assured, meanwhile, that the government is still in control of the price of rice under the Price Act.
“Nandyan pa ang (We have the) Department of Agriculture sa pakikipagtulungan ng (along with the) Department of Trade and Industry at ise-set pa namin ang presyo ng bigas (to set the price of rice). Hindi ka pwedeng basta bahala ka na lang kung anong gusto mong presyo, iyon ang gagawin mo (You cannot just set a price on your own). We will compute,” he said.
Also, the new law scrapped the ‘collateral’ requirements in the P1-B credit facility under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
Farmers who wish to avail of the RCEF Credit Program will pay the loan amount at an interest that is 1/3 of the prevailing rates imposed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
Also, farm machinery and equipment as well as seeds will be given to farmers as grant, according to the IRR.
Likewise, the local government units are directed to prioritize farmers’ associations in the distribution of such machinery and equipment.
As for the NFA’s transferred functions, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) will take over in the issuance of the Sanitaery and Pyhto-Sanitary permits for importation of rice.
Once the IRR is signed, several employees are expected to move from the NFA to the BPI to support in the implementation of its new functions. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
METRO MANILA, Philippines – Alyansa ng Industriyang Bigas, a group of rice traders are appealing for a strong measure against rice cartels and smuggling to be included in the implementing Rules and Regulation that is being crafted for the Rice Tariffication Law.
Its founding chairman, Robert Hernandez, said that the illegal activities usually cause rice prices to increase in the market.
“Itong mga smuggler, itapon lang nila ang P200, may kita sila P150 sa P1,000, masaya na sila. Malaking kita na yan sa rice businesses. The government will do something. Included sa IRR measures how to eradicate those smugglers,” he said.
Hernandez added that, aside from the measures that the government will impose to help the local farmers, it must also monitor the cost that the retailers group will charge on top of the suggested retail price.
Under the Rice Tariffication Law, the 24-year implementation of the quantitative restriction on rice imporation has been replaced by a 35% tariff on rice importation from within ASEAN private traders.
This new system may result in the inflow of cheaper rice in the market, and the NFA rice will eventually be eliminated.
It will be recalled that one of the most significant issues raised before was the monopoly on rice supply wherein the name of Davidson Bangayan, was floated as a suspected big time rice smuggler.
The Department of Justice released a resolution in November 2018, and filed charges against Bangayan.
However, with the new tariffication law on rice, 10 billion pesos will be annually allocated to the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund.
This will directly help the Flipino farmers in improving the volume of their harvest.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Rice Tariffication Law or the Republic Act. No. 11203 on February 04, 2019 and it is expected to be imposed on March 05, 2019. – Freema Salonga-Gloria (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)
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