THE National Food Authority (NFA) in Central Visayas has assured the public that there is no rice shortage in Cebu and a possibility of a price hike is not likely despite the threats of El Niño.

"Proud mi, we are ready for any eventuality," Nestor Rey Alcoseba, assistant regional director of NFA-Central Visayas, said in a forum Tuesday morning, May 17.

He added: "In fact, kung kamu mu adto mo'g merkado, you will see that ang prices sa merkado wala gyu'y kausaban (If you will go to the market, you'll see that there has been no change in the prices)."

He also said that Cebu continues to import rice from various provinces since Cebu is not an agricultural province.

In last year's importation cycle, an estimated 2.18 million sacks of rice were allocated for Central Visayas, and Alcoseba said there are still around 2.1 million NFA rice sacks available.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Agriculture's Office (PAO), as of May 6, has recorded a P140,445,832.62 million worth of overall damage to Cebu due to the El Niño phenomenon.

Francisco Sopsop, Department of Agriculture (DA)-Planning Division chief for Central Visayas, said they received around P21 million to P22 million for rehabilitation of El Nino-damaged areas.

He said the funds are for seeds, water pumps, and biologics.

The DA is also conducting information caravans to help educate farmers about El Niño. (Elizah Marie dela Rosa, CNU intern/Sunnex)