Cheap rice available this week, says exec

Supply of cheap rice, which costs P27 to P32 per kilogram, will be available in the market beginning this week with the replenishment of supply, an official of National Food Authority (NFA) – Davao City bared.

Leonila V. Selpa, provincial manager of NFA-Davao City, told TIMES yesterday in an interview that they obtained 8,000 bags from General Santos City, which was delivered last Monday. The new stock will allow the agency to replenish its warehouse which has been empty since April.

“But even with the absence of NFA rice that began in April, there is no rice shortage here in Davao. There are commercial rice traders who were able to import rice,” Selpa said.

She said the supply of rice in the region would also be augmented with an additional of 600,000 bags that would be delivered within next two months, with about 200,000 bags from Vietnam would arrive on Saturday.

The 200,000 bags supply, she said, is part of the 250,000 metric tons of rice that are recently imported by NFA.

The agency’s supply dwindled following the decision of the national government to temporarily halt the importation of rice. The national government’s decision changed when it noted the lack of low-priced rice in the market.

Selpa said the supply problem, however, spurred the prices of commercial rice up to P48 a kilo. As a cushion to price increases, she said the national government launched “Tulong sa Bayan,” which tapped establishments to sell commercial rice at P39 per kilo.

With the program, service outlets were established on April 30 in 26 establishments in the city. Among those include the service outlets in Bangoy St., Calinan, Agdao, Toril, Monteverde, Sobrecarey, and Sta. Ana Ave.

The “Tulong sa Bayan” is a joint program of the Office of the President, the Confederation of Grains Retailers Association of the Philippines, Inc., the Philippine Confederation of Grains Associations and NFA.

Selpa said the program discouraged hoarding of the good as each consumer is only allowed to buy three kilos a day. “But if a consumer is part of a marginalized sector, he or she can obtain up to five kilos of rice in the service outlets,” she said.

As of June 18, Selpa said a total of 2,174 bags of good quality commercial rice were sold in the service outlets that are part of the program. Despite the arrival of NFA stocks, she said there is no announcement yet from the head office to halt the implementation of the program. (KMF)

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