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NFA restructuring under way

The restructuring of the country’s grains agency National Food Authority (NFA) has finally begun more than a month after the government released the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the rice import liberalization law.

The Department of Agriculture said on its website that the members of the agency’s policy-making body convened last week to discuss proposals on how NFA must proceed with its tasks now that the rice industry has been deregulated.

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Under the new policy, the grains agency will be limited to securing and maintaining the country’s rice reserves for emergency situations, and will be stripped of its power to license importers and regulate the entry of imported rice.

The NFA Council, composed of officials from various agencies including the Department of Trade and Industry, National Economic and Development Authority, Land Bank of the Philippines and representatives from the farm sector, met last Thursday to discuss the agency’s inventory, procurement, and distribution.

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Nothing specific was mentioned about the displacement of NFA employees with the agency’s eventual downsizing.

NFA Council chair and Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the body would “have to work fast” as the agency was given just 60 days from the effectivity of the IRR to restructure and reorganize.

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