NFA’s appeal to unscrupulous rice traders: ‘Give farmers a break’
THE National Food Authority (NFA) has appealed to grains traders not to lower their buying price of palay so as not to worsen already desperate the situation of farmers hit by Typhoon “Juan.”
In his appeal, NFA Administrator Angelito T. Banayo said typhoon-affected farmers, just like most traders, only want to recoup even part of their investments.
Banayo said this can only be possible if palay traders will offer a fair buying price for the crop.
The NFA chief noted that October is usually the peak of harvest for the main crop and most farmers, especially those in Regions 1, 2 and 3, are ready to harvest their palay.
Cagayan and Isabela, two of the provinces hardest hit by Juan, are both palay- and corn-producing areas.
Extensive damage to palay production areas is also expected in Ilocos Sur in Region I.
Banayo also asked the traders to help in the government’s thrust to always keep the price of rice affordable to ordinary consumers.
“By simply maintaining continuous flow of rice in the market, that would already assure price stability,” according to Banayo.
In contrast, any attempt on the part of rice retailers to hoard or jack up their selling price of rice will result in an upward influence in the price of the staple, he added.
Banayo informed that NFA is always ready to sell rice in the market to preempt any unwarranted rice price increase.
He also gave assurance that the NFA has enough rice inventory of 37.5 million bags, saying this amount is sufficient to meet the country’s food security requirement for 52 days.
He accordingly instructed the NFA field officials to assign warehouse personnel to assist retailers and facilitate rice withdrawals to speed up the flow of the commodity in the market.
Related to this, the NFA will again be fielding Palengke Watch monitoring teams to check the rice market supply and prevent any attempt to manipulate price and supply especially during a calamity situation.
NFA rice at P25 per kilo is continuously available at the Bigasan sa Palengke outlets and accredited retailers.
Under a Memorandum of Agreement, the NFA will also continuously issue rice to government agencies doing relief operations in typhoon affected areas, including the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and local government units (LGUs). D’Jay Lazaro