By Jorge Hallare
LEGAZPI CITY---The National Food Authority (NFA) in Bicol has assured the public that there is no shortage of rice stocked in warehouses in the region, an NFA official said Monday.
Beth Jacob, regional information officer of NFA-Bicol, in an interview said, “Although we only have remaining 110,000 sacks of rice stocked inside our warehouses regionwide that will last for two to three days (of delivery), there is no reason to have a rice shortage in the markets.”
Jacob said beginning last January 19, they were able to deliver NFA rice to their outlets especially in public markets of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Sorsogon provinces.
Although limited as their stocks is depleted, NFA rice is available in the market for 32 pesos per kilo, Jacob said.
“Our office will continue to deliver NFA rice in said three provinces until March 9,” and we are hoping that by April, the awaited 250,000 metric tons (5 million bags) imported rice will arrive to boost the regional stocks,” she added.
“Catanduanes and Masbate actually did not stop supplying NFA rice in their markets...because they are island provinces and so we are prioritizing them,” Jacob said.
In Albay, because of the ongoing Mayon eruption, selling of NFA rice in the market has been suspended to prioritize thousands of evacuees.
Jacob said Albay has 24,891 bags intended for Mayon evacuees; Camarines Norte has 9,792 bags; Camarines Sur-19,379 bags; Catanduanes-9,588 bags; Masbate-1,784 bags and Sorsogon has 24,751 bags.
Jacob, also added that if the importation of rice failed to happen in April they will ask the central office to allow them to withdraw from other regional offices to augment the needs of the region because of the present situation of Mayon volcano.
Jacob said currently, the stocks of commercial rice in the market total 346,493 bags while those in households, 993,761 bags.
The daily consumption of rice of all Bicolanos is 40,000 sacks.