NFA RICE SUPPLY TO HELP EASE RISING PRICES IN BASILAN

In an effort to ease the rising price of rice in Basilan, the National Food Authority deployed a mobile store in Malamawi, an island village (barangay) to serve indigenous peoples in the area.

NFA Officer-in-Charge Marylene Lojera assured the city government of Basilan and the public that NFA rice at P27 will be made available as stocks start arriving.

Initially, the NFA has released 50 bags to five accredited retailers in Isabela City Public Market with 10 bags each to make affordable rice available to Basilan residents. The NFA has increased the allocation from only five bags each prior to the incident. Each family will be allowed to buy five kilograms of NFA rice at P27 per kilogram to ensure that more residents will be able to avail of the rice. 

Last week, 500 bags of rice from NFA Zamboanga were delivered in Basilan intended for calamities thru the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The NFA, in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) has intensified its rice monitoring activities in the area to ensure that NFA rice will reach the intended beneficiaries. 

Reports reaching the Central Office in Quezon City revealed that Basilan’s current stock inventory is recorded at an alarming rate of 1,800 bags of rice as of August 3. Isabela City Mayor Al-Qaid Akbar convened the city’s Local Price Coordinating Council (LPCC) participated in by the NFA and other government agencies. Rice dealers, traders, wholesalers and retailers operating in the city were also invited in the meeting.

Sixty per cent of rice in the area is being sourced from Sandakan, Malaysia. However, the Malaysian government imposed stricter restrictions on rice exports to the Philippines that led to the current shortage in supplies.

Rice prices for premium rice variety were reported between P62 per kilogram to P70 per kilogram over the weekend. Before the restrictions by the Malaysian government, prices of commercial rice were between P43 to 48 per kilogram. There were also no problems with the supply.

Zamboanga peninsula is another source of rice which supplies 30% of the inventory. But since it’s the lean months, no harvest is being made yet.

The NFA, on the other hand, accounts for the remaining 10% of the total inventory. The 500 bags currently stored in NFA warehouses in the area are intended for emergency purposes.

It was recommended that a declaration of a state of calamity in the area should be made by the city council to control rice prices. ###

/lina

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