NFA must maintain sufficient buffer stock – House official

‘NFA must maintain sufficient buffer stock’

PUT TO GOOD USE | President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. leads the distribution of smuggled rice in Zamboanga City and Zamboanga Sibugay. (MALACAÑANG PHOTO)

With price controls on rice and palay in place, the National Food Authority (NFA) should now beef up and ensure that its buffer stock will last for at least a month by buying from local rice farmers.

Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, chair of the House agriculture and food panel, made the call after the NFA set a higher price range for its purchase of unhusked rice from farmers to allow them to earn more while securing palay stocks.

Enverga pointed out that Republic Act No. 11203, or the Rice Tariffication Law, gave the NFA the power to “maintain sufficient rice buffer stock to be sourced solely from local rice farmers.”

In a statement on Tuesday, the lawmaker said it would be best if the NFA “asserts its powers to maintain our country’s buffer stock” with price controls on rice and palay now in place.

“I believe the buffer stock should be enough for two to four weeks and also enough to meet sudden needs such as the aftermath of typhoons, and safety stocks for the effects of the coming El Niño months until the first half of next year,” Enverga said.

He proposed that the NFA practice “strategic buying” at locations where the agency “can be an effective counterpoint to private rice traders and millers.”“With Christmas coming just weeks from now, it is imperative that rice prices moderate enough to bring inflation much closer to the economic managers’ target range of 2 to 4 percent,” he added.

New buying price

Enverga made the remarks after Malacañang announced the NFA’s new buying price per kilogram of P19 to P23 for dry palay and P16 to P19 for wet palay.

With the palay production cost at P14 to P15, President Marcos said farmers would earn more profits with the new price range for the NFA’s palay purchases. Mr. Marcos on Tuesday distributed sacks of smuggled rice to poor families in Zamboanga Peninsula.

The President gave 1,500 sacks of premium rice to some beneficiaries of the government’s conditional cash transfer program or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in Zamboanga City. He also distributed sacks of rice to indigent families in Tungawan town in Zamboanga Sibugay.

The distributed rice was part of the 42,180 smuggled sacks of rice worth P42 million seized by the Bureau of Customs-Port of Zamboanga during a raid on a warehouse in Barangay San Jose Gusu in Zamboanga City on Sept. 15.

The President explained that the warehouse owner was given 15 days to explain but did not give their response to authorities.


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