INTERMITTENT rains brought by Tropical Depression Henry have delayed the unloading of 80,000 bags of imported rice at the Bredco Port in Bacolod City, the top official of the National Food Authority (NFA) in Negros Occidental said.
Frisco Canoy, provincial manager of NFA-Negros Occidental, yesterday said the unloading of the province’s import allocation from Thailand started on Saturday, July 14, barely five days after its arrival last July 9.
As of yesterday, 3,383 bags were already unloaded and stored in two warehouses located at the Bredco Port and Grains Infrastructure Development inside the NFA-Negros Occidental Compound also in Bacolod City.
Canoy said they have no definite date yet as to when all the 80,000 bags can be fully unloaded as bad weather may still delay the process.
“On normal days, without any disturbances, the unloading of our stocks can be completed as early as seven days,” he said, adding that “we cannot unload if it rains as quality of the rice might be affected.”
Once wet, it can be “spoiled” unless it will be consumed immediately.
However, the stocks have yet to be stored in the warehouses before its distribution among local accredited retailers, the official stressed.
Prior to the arrival of the imported rice, NFA-Negros Occidental has already started to distribute a portion of the 5,000 bags from Iloilo.
The neighboring province's allocation, also 80,000 bags, arrived ahead that of Negros Occidental. Thus, Iloilo dispersed some of its stocks while the latter awaits its allocation to arrive.
Canoy said there is no need to fully unload the entire 80,000 bags before the distribution can be conducted.
In fact, the initial unloaded stocks of almost 4,000 bags are ready for distribution. “We will immediately distribute it if needed,” he added.
The government rice is still sold at P27 per kilogram, competitive with that of commercial rice.
The agency earlier said that NFA rice’s presence in the market helps stabilize the prices of the commodity.
This is aside from providing consumers the access to quality yet affordable rice, it added.