Ease NFA permit requirement, supermarkets ask gov’t | Inquirer Business

Ease NFA permit requirement, supermarkets ask gov’t

/ 05:01 AM September 25, 2018

About 200 supermarket outlets across the country are not able to sell the more affordable NFA rice due to problems in securing permits from the National Food Authority.

This is despite the fact that it was the government that sought the industry’s help to make the staple accessible in supermarkets.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the NFA signed last week a memorandum of agreement with supermarket group Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association (Pagasa) Inc. to make the staple available in their outlets.


While the agreement is aimed at tapping these retail outlets to help flood the market with affordable rice to temper increases in the prices of the staple, the government seemed to be making it difficult for these retailers to do what was asked of them.


“The NFA requires us to get permits. At the rate permits in the Philippines are given, maybe the ‘crisis’ will already be over by the time we get them,” said Pagasa president Steven Cua.

He said there might also be concerns that rice stocks would run out if supermarkets would get allocations especially since the deal — which he said was rushed over one weekend — was not considered in previous rice importation.

There are also logistic concerns which may inconvenience Pagasa.

Cua said that, for one, supermarkets would need to pick up the rice stocks themselves from NFA warehouses which could be difficult since most of them had no trucks of their own. Also, he said, supermarkets were required to pay for the stocks in another location (the NFA office).

Also, rice would be sold to the group in bulk and unpacked, he said, quoting the MOA, which meant group members would have to do the packing themselves.

“They’re not making it easy for us to help,” Cua said.


All these follow the MOA, which was an initiative that DTI came up with to help address the problem on rice, which contributed to the 9-year high inflation in August.

The DTI has the best intentions but it seems to fall short on the execution aspect of its plan.

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“We do a lot of things on a day-to-day basis. This is not our priority but we are willing to help,” Cua said.

TAGS: Business, NFA

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