AGRI Party-list Representative Orestes T. Salon said Monday that local rice farmers would be put at a disadvantage when the arrival of 250,000 metric tons of imported rice coincides with their palay harvest.
“I hope the NFA (National Food Authority) and Department of Agriculture have a concrete plan to address what looks to be an oversupply in the near future because of the overlap in the arrival of the imports and the harvest season,” Salon said.
Salon also echoed the lament of rice watchdog Bantay Bigas that the NFA’s P7 billion budget this 2018 for its buffer stocking program will be used to pay for the imported rice instead of being used for the procurement of local palay.
“Instead of helping our local farmers who comprise the poorest sector of society, we are more willing to pay others to address an issue whose cause is still unclear and unverified,” said Salon.
Salon last week filed House Resolution No. 1659 calling for an investigation into the alleged rice shortage. He said that the administration’s differing statements was sowing confusion on the issue. p: wjg