By Jorge Hallare
LEGAZPI CITY --- The National Food Authority (NFA) regional office here has lowered the price of its rice sold in public markets and accredited retailers.
Henry Tristeza, NFA regional director, in an interview on Tuesday, said the move was in compliance with Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol’s directive to lower the price of NFA rice in all public markets from P32 to P27 per kilo.
“The decision to lower down the prices of NFA rice is to cushion the effect of the high inflation rate in Bicol and the increasing prices of prime commodities in the country,”Tristeza said.
“Tulong ito ng gobyerno sa lahat ng mamamayan lalo na ang mga nasa poverty line ng bansa (It’s the government’s way to help the people, especially those who belong to the poverty line),” he added.
According to Tristeza, their accredited retailers who bought rice at higher price from NFA warehouses region-wide will not be affected by the decision because most of them are almost running out of stocks and they are about to buy another round of stocks.
Tristeza also warned retailers not to take advantage of the lower price of NFA rice by labeling their stocks as commercial rice.
“We have a ‘One strike policy’ and whoever violates would be meted out penalties and fine,” he said.
The official also said that on Friday, NFA-Bicol will implement the SRP, or suggested retail price, on all commercial rice in the region.
They will require all the commercial rice traders to put SRPs beginning Friday.
“We are just waiting on the guidelines regarding the SRP program from our central office in Manila, we will convene the inter-agency to discuss about the implementation,” Tristeza said.
Meanwhile, the regional director said that based from their latest monitoring, prices of commercial rice sold in public markets are now PHP2 to PHP3 lower per kilogram.
The NFA expects traders and retailers to gradually lower prices of commercial rice as more NFA rice imports are expected the flood the markets soon. At the same time, the agency continues to buy palay from farmers.
Tristeza said they have been given the go-signal to procure palay from farmers at a higher price.
They are buying palay from farmers at P20.70 per kilo or an additional of P3 per kilo as buffer stock incentive and additional of 30 centavos per 30 kilometers as delivery incentive from the origin to NFA warehouse.