Central Luzon has sufficient rice supply

CABANATUAN CITY: About 2.4 million bags of rice are stored in National Food Authority warehouses in Central Luzon, ensuring ample supply of the staple during the traditional lean months of June to September, grains officials said on Thursday.

Engr. Nicolas Crisostomo, NFA-Region 3 director, said the volume strategically positioned in the agency warehouses is even supplemented by 1.8 million bags in the commercial sector.

He said that Central Luzon, a rice producing region, “is better prepared” for the anticipated tight supply during lean period.

An inventory, Crisostomo said, showed that the present stocks that include private and households’ would last up to 95 days based on daily rice consumption requirement of 69,700 bags.

Besides existing stocks, the food agency is still expecting to receive a tentative volume of 577,000 bags of imported rice that represent the balance of Central Luzon as 2008 import allocation.

This will add to its buffer stocks, which are intended to meet the consumer demand during these lean months.

On lean months, even agricultural areas experience tight grains supply for lack of harvests, causing commercial rice supply to dwindle and prices to soar again from its already high levels of P32-40 per kilogram.

To prevent this, the government thru the NFA intervenes by releasing a greater volume of its P18.25 a kilo, said Edelino Alejandro, NFA-Nueva Ecija manager.

The NFA sells its rice stocks thru 364 institutionalized Bigasan sa Palengke stalls, 305 Tindahan Natin stores, 87 Bigasan sa Parokya outlets and 8 rolling stores in Central Luzon. In addition, 19 Tindahan Natin stores were put up inside NFA owned compounds to give the public more access to cheaper rice.

”There is no reason to fear a rice crisis this coming lean months as we will inject more NFA rice in our respective outlets accordingly to ensure that cheap and good quality rice will always be available to consumers especially the most needy,” Crisostomo said. Armand Galang

He added that the NFA would intensify all its efforts in shielding the public from the impact of the seemingly uncontrollable increases in oil prices, which precipitates the high prices of commodities including commercial rice.
— Armand Galang(ManilaTimes)

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