Duterte wants NFA council abolished — Agriculture chief

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File photo of President Rodrigo R. Duterte while delivering his speech on his recent trip to India. Photo taken at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City on Jan. 26, 2018. — PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel F. Pinol revealed early Friday, April 6, that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has ordered the abolition of the National Food Authority (NFA) council.

In a radio interview, Mr. Pinol said the President made the announcement during his dialogue with rice traders Thursday night.

“Last night during the forum led by the President with the country’s rice traders, he announced that he has abolished the NFA Council. And he would transfer NFA and other agencies related to agriculture that was removed from DA will be returned to the Department of Agriculture,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English.

Asked on the NFA’s fate, Mr. Pinol said the grains agency would continue to function as it was mandated to do.

The NFA council is headed by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio B. Evasco Jr. and consists of members from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipnias, Development Bank of the Philippines, Land Bank of the Philippines, Department of Finance, Department of Trade and Industry, National Economic and Development Authority, Office of the Executive Secretary and a representative of the farmer sector.

The grains agency came under fire after it announced that its rice buffer stock was less than the required 15-day reserve. Mr. Evasco and  NFA Adminisrator Jason Y. Aquino was also reportedly in conflict with addressing the buffer rice stock shortage. — Camille A. Aguinaldo