NFA limits customers, retailers complain

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Monday, July 21, 2014


RICE retailers in Cebu received complaints that some of their colleagues are limiting the sale of National Food Authority (NFA)-issued rice to the public.

Among allegations that consumers had raised is that some of their members are only selling NFA rice with 25 percent broken grains that cost about P32 per kilo despite an agreement with NFA to sell two rice varieties to the public.

An official of the Grain Retailers Confederation (Grecon)-Cebu Chapter said they plan to address the complaints the consumers raised and will police their own ranks.

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An NFA official also warned retailers of license suspension if they are caught doing the practice.

Celiapo Cabuenas, Grecon-Cebu chapter secretary, told reporters yesterday that he received complaints that some of their members are only selling one variety of NFA rice to the public.

Based on an agreement with the NFA, registered rice retailers are required to sell two NFA rice varieties: the one with 15 percent broken grains, which cost P27 per kilo, and another variety that has 25 percent broken grains and sells for P32 per kilo.

But based on the complaints they received, Cabuenas said some of their members are reportedly selling only the rice variety worth P32 per kilo.

Investigation

Cabuenas refuses to name this retailers as they are currently investigating the allegations.

Cabuenas said retailers should give their customers the choice.

Consumers also complained that some retailers are conducting “selective selling” by disallowing single and young men and women to buy NFA rice.

“Gusto man noon nila nga mamaligya sa mga minyo ug sa senior citizen (They want to sell to married ones and senior citizens),” Cabuenas said.

Cabuenas said he had raised the matter to the Grecon and plans to talk to their members about it.

Maria Lucia Rosales, NFA 7 spokesperson, said they plan to coordinate with Cabuenas on the complaints.

Trust

Rosales reminded retailers that the NFA has given its trust to registered retailers as they are the best persons that can bring the NFA rice to those who really need it.

But before they could suspend the license of any retailer, the NFA will conduct an investigation to see if the allegations are valid, Rosales added.

She also praised Grecon for initiating efforts to address complaints by policing their own ranks.

Rosales said Grecon has been assisting the NFA in its campaign to bring quality but affordable rice to the masses.

She said members of the Grecon volunteered to put up “rolling stores” that would sell NFA rice to the outskirts level.

Cabuenas said that aside from rolling stores, he assured NFA rice stocks are sold in major public markets across Cebu through the “Bigasan sa Palengke (BSP)” program.

Cabuenas assured the public that major markets in the towns of Consolacion, Liloan, Compostela and Minglanilla and in the cities of Talisay, Carcar and Danao have stores called “Bigasan sa Palengke (BSP)” that exclusively sells NFA rice.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 22, 2014.

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