Rice prices stable-NFA
The Philippine Star, February 8, 2004
Rice prices remain stable and affordable despite the rise in rice prices in the world market.
National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Arthur Yap gave this assurance, saying the NFA has sufficient buffer stock to stabilize the rice market should there be an abnormal increase in rice prices, especially during the lean production months.
Yap said the NFA bought Thai rice last year at $192.2 per metric tons, cost and freight at 25 percent brokens. Today, the indicative price for the same quality of rice is quoted in the world market at $218 per MT, C&F.
Thai rice is being used as a benchmark for rice pricing in the world market.
Yap cited the NFA’s aggressive palay procurement, especia1ly in the last quarter of 2003, when the agency even overshot its procurement targets in some regions like the Southern Tagalog, Ilocos and Western Visayas.
With its proactive palay buying, the NFA was able to buy some 294,410 metric tons of palay, equivalent to 5.8 million bags, in 2003, Yap said. He said he is confident the NFA will exceed last year’s palay procurement record with the current extensive use of hybrid rice and other high-yielding varieties.
This year, the NFA has set aside P4 billion for palay procurement and increased its target to 9.5 million bags from 6.7 million bags last year. The focus of the government to increase palay production for food security augurs well with the NFA’s objective to concentrate on domestic buying of grains. Yap said.
If necessary domestic procurement will be augmented by importation. Yap said the NFA is projecting to import some 600,000 MT of rice this year, in addition to the 117,817 MT of rice contracted under USPL 480, which is a soft commodity loan from the United States.
The important volume will fill last year's production shortfall but will be kept by the NFA as buffer stock to ensure food security and stability of supply and prices through out the year, Yap said.
For queries, information, complaints and suggestions about NFA buying operations, the public is encouraged to coordinate with the nearest office of the agency in their respective localities or send text messages to cell phone 0917-621-0927.
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