MANILA—Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Wednesday cautioned against the abolition of the National Food Authority (NFA) stressing that farmers will be most affected as it might reduce their income.
“Opening the importation of rice to the private sector will further reduce their already small income, as it will flood the markets with cheap rice,” Pangilinan said.
“Our top consideration must be our farmers because they will bear the brunt if NFA is abolished,” he added.
Earlier this month, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. reportedly said that his office will recommend to the President the abolition of three agencies, including the NFA.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III later on clarified that they will not abolish the food agency, but instead only remove its regulatory functions.
Pangilinan, former Chairman of the NFA Council during his stint as the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, said that farm productivity and the involvement of the private sector should be considered before the NFA is abolished.
He noted that during his stint in the NFA, the authority rejected bid offers from other governments because of high prices.
The senator further explained that this lowered the bidding prices, resulting in savings for the government amounting to some Php7 billion.
He said that the authority was also able to bring down rice inflation.
“If the functions of the NFA will be performed responsibly and its officials remain prudent, the agency can be a catalyst for achieving its mandate of food security,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan, Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, will be conducting an organizational meeting and first public hearing on Thursday (Sept. 1) that will focus on the Coco Levy Trust Fund Bill.