MANILA – The National Food Authority (NFA) is facing scrutiny for its “excessive importation” of 2.1 million metric tons of rice for this year.
Quoting the Department of Agriculture (DA), Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate said that as of June 1 the Philippines had 3.02 million metric tons of rice stock inventory.
Bureau of Agricultural Statistics said that there is an increase of 30.9 percent in the rice stock inventory from the 2.31 metric tons of rice the country had in the same period last year.
Colmenares said that despite the abundant stocks, the NFA continued to authorize the importation of 2.1 million metric tons of rice for this year.
He added that the importation is comprised of the 500,000 MT the NFA procured from Thailand and Vietnam – 250,000 MT programmed for the lean season, 250,000 MT as reserve volume, 300,000 MT delivery under 2014’s minimum access volume (MAV), and 805,200 MT private sector imports from China, India, Pakistan, Australia, El Salvador, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Since the country already has sufficient stock, the additional importation of 2.1 million MT in rice is suspicious, said Colmenares.
“Even NFA has admitted that the importation would cause the farm-gate price of palay to go down from its current price of P17 per kilo,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zarate said that the current administration is just doing what the Arroyo administration had done during its term.
It can be recalled that President Aquino in his previous State of the Nation Address speeches takes a stab at what the current administration has done, especially with regard to rice imports. Yet, he is just repeating what happened claimed Zarate.
Zarate also added that the President has not done anything to go after the NFA officials and the other people behind this issue during the Arroyo administration.