THE National Food Authority (NFA) in Negros Occidental targets to distribute about 62,000 bags of rice among markets in the province in January, its top official said.
Frisco Canoy, provincial manager of NFA-Negros Occidental, said the figure represents 10 percent of the total market share of the government rice given the province’s daily average consumption of 20,600 bags.
This means that NFA-Negros Occidental has to distribute 15,500 bags of the P27 per kilogram government rice every week to achieve its allowable target market participation, Canoy said.
“From the previous five percent share of NFA rice, we want to make it up to 10 percent of the total consumption requirement,” he said, adding that the agency sometimes falls short of the target especially when there is a surplus of commercial rice supply.
Aside from the stable supply of the commodity, the low distribution of NFA rice may also be attributed to competitive prices of commercial rice.
“Anyways, this is just a target,” Canoy said, stressing that “what is more important is that we are able to maintain NFA rice presence in the market so consumers are assured that they have options.”
In terms of stocks, the existing buffer for the province is seen to last until the second quarter of the year.
NFA-Negros Occidental earlier reported that it has an “actual” inventory of 177,455 bags as of January 21, 2019.
The figure is comprised of 159,739 bags of imported rice from Myanmar, 6,000 bags from Vietnam, and the remaining 11,716 bags from Thailand.
The 6,000 bags are just part of the 79,000 bags of rice from Vietnam. Thus, there are still 73,000 bags up for unloading.
Once the unloading is completed, possibly within eight days under normal condition, the total inventory will increase to about 250,000 bags.
Canoy earlier said that they can only account as actual inventory those that are already unloaded and received at the warehouses.
Given such volume of available government rice, Canoy said the weekly allocation for retailers and is back to normal.
For major markets in Bacolod City, NFA-Negros Occidental is currently distributing 140 bags per week.
Those in markets outside Bacolod City are receiving a weekly allocation of 80 bags, while outside the markets like stores in the barangay level get 60 bags every week.
Some 113 “tagpuan” centers in the province with a weekly allocation of 50 bags were also reactivated.
Implemented through Tagpuan Rice Response Delivery program, the establishment of "tagpuan" centers is NFA’s measure to make cheaper government rice accessible to more consumers.
“In times when prices of commercial rice are low, we are not injecting much volume of NFA rice in the market. Our role is a stabilizer, meaning we will focus on where and when the government rice is much needed,” he added.
Despite that there is currently a steady supply of the P27 government rice, the volume of purchase by consumers is still “controlled” up to five kilograms.
Canoy, however, said that it is a case to case basis.
When people from the far-flung areas request to buy up to 10 kilograms for consumption, they may be allowed, he added. (EPN