AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said stock for the P27 per kilogram (kg) of rice from the National Food Authority (NFA) will last for eight months.
“In preparation for the lean months, the NFA has established a stock inventory of 750,000-metric tons of imported rice which will ensure an 8-month supply of government subsidized rice at 10% market participation,” Mr. Piñol said on a Facebook post.
“The 750,000-metric tons of imported rice will be sold at P27 per kilo while the NFA will seek guidance on the selling price of the locally procured paddy rice since this will be bought at P17 per kilo plus P3.70 per kilo incentive,” he added.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) chief said that by the end of 2018, the country will have a 134-day buffer stock of rice in the warehouses of NFA and private traders, and household storage facilities — the highest number of buffer stock in recent years.
Mr. Piñol also said that NFA has given assurance of enough government-subsidized rice by next year with its P7 billion budget to be used for procurement from local farmers.
Last week, Mr. Piñol, citing chair of the Senate committee on food and agriculture Cynthia A. Villar, announced that the country will still have available government-subsidized rice by next year even with the implementation of rice tariffication.
Under tariffication, with the approved bill just awaiting the President’s signature, the NFA will lose its licensing powers and will solely focus on buffer stocking of rice bought from domestic farmers.
Under the new law, private traders will be the only allowed importers of rice.
The selling price of local rice then is expected to be at P35 to P36.
“I pointed out that unless government subsidizes the NFA rice, it cannot be sold at P27 per kilo because it would mean a loss of P9 per kilo for the government grains agency. However, I clarified that the NFA could still sell rice at the current price if government will subsidize it,” Mr. Piñol said.
“Senator Villar, however, issued the assurance that even with the passage of the rice tariffication, Government will still ensure the availability of government subsidized rice in the market,” he added. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio