PALO, Leyte -- The National Food Authority (NFA) in Eastern Visayas has assured the public of enough rice stocks in the region despite limited supply from the government.

NFA Regional Manager Henry Tristeza said commercial traders, households and government warehouses have combined stocks of 480,000 bags as of last week, which can meet the 15-day regional food requirement.

However, current stocks of cheaper rice is only 68,000 bags, which is only good for two days if the government is the only source of rice for the region’s more than four million population.

The situation prompted the NFA to limit its delivery to retailers as they prioritize the requirements of areas affected by recent flooding and request from local government units.

The food security stocks of NFA regional office is way below than the requirement of 15-day buffer stock at any given time and 30-day buffer stock during lean season.

“There is nothing to worry about since there are sufficient stocks by households and commercial traders. We also expect shipment of 25,000 bags from Cebu any time this week,” Tristeza said on Monday.

The low stocks in government warehouses is a result of rice import restrictions, according to NFA official.

Tristeza is hopeful that the NFA policy-making body will reconsider the proposal of the agency to import 250,000 metric tons of rice by April this year despite positive outlook in rice production.

Eastern Visayas is expected to get 200,000 bags from the targeted import volume, according to the official.

Citing field reports, the NFA regional chief said rice price remain stable in the past months at P38 to P45 per kilogram. Currently, NFA sells rice at P27 per kilo and P32 per kilo. (PNA)