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NFA Rice Policy Options
« on: February 12, 2018, 06:21:01 PM »

Rep. Mercado: Raise palay buying price to P22 to P25

Rep. Romero: Replace rice quotas with tariff of about 40 percent

Rep. Calalang: Bridging buffer stocks can be commercial-quality sold at a loss

Southern Leyte Representative Roger G. Mercado said that, in the future, instead of importing rice, "the NFA should buy its NFA rice buffer stocks from Mindanao or the Visayas to augment NFA inventories in its warehouses in Mindanao and the Visayas."

Mercado also said the NFA should raise its buying price for palay from P17 per kilo to the range of P22 to P25 per kilo and increase its rice incentives to a full P1.00, so local farmers would immediately and directly benefit in the form of higher earnings.

"To compensate for the increase in the price of rice sold to the poorest consumers, the DSWD should start implementing in March its 4Ps subsidies for rice purchases," Mercado added.

1-PACMAN Party-list Rep. Michael "Mikee" Romero, member of the House Committee on Food Security, said the NEDA-proposed 35 percent tariff to replace the country's non-tariff barriers is too low.

"The better and right policy is to make local rice cheaper than imported rice by lowering farming and post-harvest costs so our farmers will have better profit margins whether they sell their rice to the NFA or to the rice traders," Romero said.

On the rice tariff, Romero said its effect should be "to make the cost of imported rice at least equal to local rice prices."

"For this to happen, the tariff must be higher than the 35 percent NEDA is proposing. A tariff rate of 40 percent or thereabouts is what would be fair to Filipino farmers and consumers," Romero said.

Rep. Romero also proposed the creation of a "strictly-regulated online exchange or marketplace for harvested palay."

"This would weaken the hold or cartel-like influence of middlemen on our domestic market for rice," Romero said.

To address the present-day problem of NFA rice shortage, Romero suggested that "instead of importing rice from Thailand or Vietnam, buy rice from Filipino farmers who are harvesting in late February and early March. The NFA should help Filipino farmers, not farmers of other countries."

For his part, KABAYAN Party-list Rep. Ciriaco Calalang suggested to the NFA that it buy "at least 10 to 15 days’ worth of commercial-quality rice at commercial prices but sell these stocks at a loss at NFA rice price levels."

"The 10 to 15 days of commercial-quality rice stocks should be enough to bridge the gap between the current limited NFA rice inventory and the arrival of the NFA-imported rice,” Calalang said.

He asked that the NFA make sure the poor are the ones who will have access to these bridging rice stocks.

"Avoiding hunger affecting hundreds of thousands of Filipino families is more important than the financial health of the NFA. The NFA can charge this loss to experience and as an extraordinary expense to avert a hunger disaster," Calalang also said. (END)

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