Press Release
January 24, 2018

...says agency must bare suppliers given import permits

Senator Nancy Binay urged the National Food Authority (NFA) to come up with measures to maintain the required buffer stocks of rice until April to allay fears of a possible rice shortage and a subsequent increase in its price.

"The NFA should make sure that the government's rice stock always meets the 15-day stockpile requirement," Binay said.

"Also, since the agency is expecting the rice imports to be delivered in April or May, it should make sure that we have ample supply of rice should the need arise earlier," she added.

Binay filed a resolution directing proper Senate committees to conduct an inquiry on the status of the country's rice supply and to study new polices that will ensure a stable rice supply.

"Pag-aaralan natin kung papaano natin matutulungan ang NFA na mapapabilis ang proseso ng pag-angkat ng bigas lalo na sa mga panahong bumabagyo at mahina ang ani," she said.

The NFA earlier admitted that its current rice stockpile level is good for only three days.

This is below the required 15-day buffer stock equivalent to around 400,000 MT at any given time. During the months when Philippine rice harvest declines and the country is frequented by storms, the NFA is required to have a 30-day buffer stock equivalent to 800,000 MT.

Binay also reminded the NFA that the agency must bare all suppliers given import permits under the minimum access volume (MAV) scheme.

"This is in the interest of transparency and to prevent issues like conflicts of interest and corruption," she said.

Binay added that NFA should go after rice traders who take advantage of the ongoing speculations by unduly increasing prices.

The senator also said that it is NFA's duty to inform consumers not worry about higher cost of rice even if pump prices have increased due to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

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