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May 2024

NFA Rice Imports Limited To Emergency Situations – Enverga


By Billy Begas

House Committee on Agriculture and Food chairperson and Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga said that the National Food Authority (NFA) will have a limited role in importing rice.

During Monday’s press conference, Enverga said that the NFA would import rice to stabilize prices and ensure the country’s sufficient supply under the proposed measure.

“Before the NFA had monopoly in terms of rice imports, they had monopoly in terms of regulation. I would like to assure our counterparts in the Senate that this is a different scenario. In fact, very limited ang kanilang (NFA) magiging presence dito—only in case of emergency situations and importation is merely a last resort,” Enverga stressed.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, has opposed the proposal to reinstate the NFA’s authority to import and sell rice, citing concerns about corruption and questioning the agency’s commitment to safeguarding the welfare of rice farmers and consumers.

However, Enverga stressed that NFA is the government agency that has technical expertise when it comes to rice.

“I think NFA is the rightful agency or administration that could handle this matter, especially ‘yung price stabilization function,” Enverga explained.

“Sa importation kasi, I think na-mention kasi nila (senators) parating importation ‘yung worry nila. And as I’ve mentioned, importation would be the last resort so we put in stringent safeguard measures here and we know for a fact that very powerful po ‘yung NFA Council po rito wherein they could stipulate also their own safeguard measures,” he added.

Enverga said he is willing to brief the senators on the rationale and objectives of the proposed measure.

Aside from allowing NFA to sell rice, the measure also authorizes it to require registration of all grain warehouses, conduct inspections to ensure compliance with rice quality and supply standards and mandate the maintenance of sufficient buffer stock requirements sourced from local farmers’ organizations and cooperatives.

The measure also seeks to bolster the regulatory authority of the Bureau of Plant and Industry to ensure warehouse compliance with sanitary and phytosanitary standards. QR Code

Published Date: May 13, 2024

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