THE National Food Authority (NFA) in Negros Occidental started implementing the new selling price of rice among local government units (LGUs) and other government institutions in the province, its top official said.
NFA-Negros Occidental Provincial Manager Frisco Canoy said the selling price of the government rice has increased to P37 per kilogram from P32 per kilogram effective June 7 this year.
Canoy said that the agency is now selling NFA rice at P1,850 per bag from the previous P1,600.
“This might be an offshoot of the new law that exempts LGUs and other government agencies from the subsidy,” he said, adding that the selling price for other consumer groups including accredited outlets is still P25 per kilogram.
On February 14, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Import and Export Liberalization Law which lifted import restrictions on rice to make the price of the staple commodity affordable for all.
It has removed the regulatory functions of the NFA over international and domestic trading of rice.
Under which, NFA-Negros Occidental, like other provincial offices, can no longer act on licensing and registration of persons and entities engaged in the grains business, and collection of regulatory fees.
Other functions stripped from the agency included issuance of negotiable warehouse receipts, warehouse inspection, authority to seize hoarded stocks, and enforce rules and regulations in the grains business.
Canoy said they continue to implement other remaining functions like buffer stocking for calamities and emergencies which forms part of ensuring food security mandate of the agency.
Also, NFA-Negros Occidental will continue to distribute the remaining buffer stocks of about 93,000 to at least 160 accredited outlets in the province until August this year.
These outlets still sell NFA rice at P27 per kilogram.
Canoy said portion of the existing buffer, which is part of the previous import allocations of the province, can be sold to government agencies at the new selling price.
Among the regular clients of NFA-Negros Occidental are the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and the Department of Social Welfare and Development for its supplemental feeding program.
“For government agencies, they can actually buy rice directly from NFA without canvass of prices or bidding,” he said, adding that “though, they can still opt to buy commercial rice from private suppliers.”
The provincial manager stressed that “our stocks are intended for the marginalized consumers but we still cater to government institutions for their programs while complying with the new mandated price.”