NFA says cheap rice will be back in late May
Poor Filipino households can expect the low-priced subsidized rice to be back in the market by the latter part of May, according to the country’s grains agency.
The National Food Authority (NFA) said it has secured its terms of reference (TOR) for the importation of 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice. This is expected to immediately replenish the agency’s reserves.
Upon the shipments’ arrival, NFA said it would return the NFA rice to the market to be priced at its previous levels—P27 and P32 a kilo. According to NFA spokesperson Rex Estoperez, the cheaper variant would be the regular NFA rice while the pricier variant would be of better quality to give consumers some preference.
Although private traders have come up with a cheaper commercial rice currently being sold at P39 a kilo, this was still P12 more expensive than the subsidized rice.
Retail prices for regular-milled and well-milled rice are now at P39.91 and P43.70 a kilo, respectively, based on the latest price monitoring report of the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Under the agency’s chosen mode of procurement, which is the government-to-government scheme, the agency may issue a Notice to Proceed (NTP) to its winning bidders by May 7.
It will then take 10 to 15 days for the winning supplier of the bid to deliver the imports to the country.
The existing rice trade agreements of the Philippines allow it to buy rice from Vietnam and Thailand.
“As soon as the stocks arrive, NFA will focus on immediate distribution. We assure [the public] that the rice will be quickly made available to areas in most need of government support, especially highly populated cities where poverty rate is high, in poor provinces, and in island municipalities across the country,” NFA Administrator Jason Aquino said.
He added that the NFA would be implementing strict market monitoring and enforcement to ensure that poor households would get access to affordable rice.
The supply of cheap NFA rice came to a halt after the buffer stock of the agency got depleted. The NFA is mandated to keep a 15-day buffer and a 30-day stock during the lean months of July to September.
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