NFA, DTI MUST AVERT RICE
AND FOOD SHORTAGE
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. this week urged the National Food Authority (NFA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to act immediately to avert the threat of rice and food shortage due to the devastation caused by typhoon Lando.
Marcos noted that the latest report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council placed the damage typhoon Lando caused to agriculture at P7.3 billion, including areas in Central Luzon known as the “rice granary of the Philippines.”
“I’m aware that the NFA has began augmentation of rice supply in areas damaged by typhoon Lando to ensure rice would be available to the typhoon victims but it should also address the looming threat of rice shortage in the days ahead,” Marcos warned.
Marcos said, NFA should buy as soon as possible the palay farmers have salvaged from typhoon Lando and sell them to the public at farm-gate prices.
“In this way, we can at least help farmers minimize their losses and stabilize the price of rice for the general public,” Marcos said. DTI should field its personnel in affected areas to ensure adequate supply of basic goods, deter hoarding, and monitor implementation of any price freeze declared in calamity-stricken areas.
Earlier, Marcos urged the Department of Agriculture to utilize its P500 million Quick Response Fund to provide immediate assistance to farmers affected by typhoon Lando.
NFA said about 400,000 metric tons of ready-to-harvest palay were damaged by typhoon Lando, with an estimated value of P4.5 billion.
“But the NFA should not use this as an excuse for unbridled rice importation, which will hurt our rice farmers in the end,” Marcos stressed. It could be recalled that a controversy earlier broke out about rice smuggling syndicates that exploited cooperatives to cloak their illegal activities.
Despite this, the NFA recently announced the country will import a total of 750,000 metric tons of rice to avert the threat of shortage due to the El Nino weather phenomenon./MP