HAVE you recently tried to buy the cheaper government rice in the market but there were no more stocks available?
This is because the National Food Authority (NFA) in Negros Occidental has suspended the distribution of the P27 per kilogram rice in the market amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
NFA provincial manager Josephine Venus Dasal-Castillo told SunStar Bacolod that they temporarily stopped the rice distribution to local grains businessmen since the start of the implementation of enhanced community quarantine in the province.
There are at least 160 accredited NFA rice retailers in Negros Occidental mostly at public markets.
Dasal-Castillo said the public might be wondering why there's no longer supply of NFA rice in the market. In fact, many were asking.
"Our priority for now are the local government units (LGUs) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)," she said, adding that the agency's focus now is to help address the pressing calamity.
The NFA-Negros Occidental top official said they already explained to the grains businessmen why they should suspend the market distribution.
Retailers knew the NFA's priority now, Dasal-Castillo said, pointing out that due to the community quarantine "we don't have enough personnel to monitor."
Data earlier obtained by SunStar Bacolod showed that NFA-Negros Occidental has initially released P63 million worth of rice to cities and municipalities in the province.
The amount accounts for about 50,500 bags of rice given as subsidy amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Of the volume, 24,800 bags worth P31 million were purchased by the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental.
These were given to 31 cities and towns with each receiving 800 bags worth P1 million.
The 10,000 bags worth P12.5 million were purchased by the City Government of Bacolod.
The remaining 15,200 bags account for those purchased separately by some LGUs on top of their allocation from the Provincial Government.
On Thursday, April 2, the Provincial Government purchased anew about P19.5 million worth of NFA rice to be given as additional subsidy to all 19 towns.
Each town is getting P500,000 worth of additional rice allocation.
Dasal-Castillo said they are currently managing the stocks to ensure that there would be an available buffer when need arises.
She earlier said that the transfer of the remaining 44,000 bags from NFA- Western Visayas in Iloilo to the province is ongoing.
These incoming stocks will form part of the 100,000 bags requested by NFA-Negros Occidental from the regional line agency.
The initial transfer of at least 50,000 bags are those already delivered to the province's 13 cities and 19 municipalities.
"It is the NFA's mandate to provide rice to LGUs and other government institutions during disasters and calamities," Dasal-Castillo added.