Importing an additional 500,000 metric tons of rice as part of measures to boost the buffer stock will help keep prices of the staple food of Filipinos stable in public markets, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said Wednesday defending government’s position on the matter.
Lawmakers can't blame President Benigno Aquino III for announcing during his State of the Nation Address that the National Food Authority (NFA) would import 500,000 MT of rice, the Agriculture chief said during his department's budget briefing at the House of Representatives.
“Hindi natin masisisi ang Pangulo. [His announcement] helps make the price of rice in the market lower. Alam ng traders ang buffer stock na hawak ng NFA… When the President announced during his SONA na mag-i-import pa tayo, this [sends the message] that enough supply is coming in. Patotoo ‘yun na magkaroon ng enough buffer stock ang NFA,” he said.
The half-a-million ton purchase is part of the NFA preparations against the ill effects of calamities on rice supply and prices.