Senator Joel Villanueva has expressed alarm over the reported lapses and irregularities of the National Food Authority (NFA) when it comes to its rice procurement process.
“What happened to the NFA’s procurement process especially the NFA people who directly buy and sell from the farmers in the agricultural regions?” Villanueva asked NFA administrator Jason Aquino during the Senate probe on the alleged NFA rice shortage.
In response, Aquino said that the NFA failed to buy rice supplies from the farmers because of its high price and delays in importation.
The Alliance of Grains Industry Stakeholders Philippines chairperson Teresa Alegado, for her part, supported Villanueva’s statement and said that this is the first time in her 40 years of experience in dealing with rice distribution that a massive shortage and immense price increase of NFA rice has occurred.
The NFA seriously needs to improve the implementation of its rice procurement policies.
“The NFA seriously needs to improve the implementation of its rice procurement policies such as the direct procurement of rice from farmers and cut out the middlemen, and hasten the importation process to replenish the NFA’s buffer stocks and insufficiencies,” the legislator explained.
“These lapses are simply inexcusable since we are talking about food security. Our government should look after the welfare of our kababayans and ensure that there is food on the table of every Filipino,” the lawmaker stressed.