NFA Bohol appeals to LGUS to taper down rice distribution
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, April 26 (PIA) — With buffer stocks just enough to last until the next resupply shipment arrives, the National Food Authority (NFA) in Bohol has called on local government units (LGUs) to taper down on their rice distribution in this extraordinary time of calamity.
NFA Bohol manager Maria Fe Evasco appealed to LGUs as she emphasized that this problem that Bohol faces now is unlike any other calamity when nobody can forecast when this will end and how many would be affected and where to drop the bulk of the food supply.
Speaking during the recent Kapihan sa PIA, Evasco, along with NFA information officer Joel Lim, said that while the NFA has delivered the rice requirements of congressional offices, the provincial government, municipal government, and barangays in their procurement of rice supply in their first wave of relief operations, the buffer stocks now may not be enough to cater to everyone in the second wave of relief operations.
“As much as we want, we have to taper down on the distribution of relief in rice,” Evasco appealed to LGUs during the radio forum which aired over DyTR Am on April 13, 2020.
She explained that these are unusual times where there is an unusual demand, and it is not only Bohol that is demanding rice now as NFA shipment is based on the occasion.
Without the disruption caused by COVID-19, Bohol NFA would only be getting a smaller shipment based on the NFA rice shipment and marketing plan for the whole year.
With buffer stocks now at 26,000 bags and Boholanos consuming an average of 9,920 bags a day, the figure could be critically alarming.
But Evasco explained that by buffering, the NFA only keeps a small percentage of the over-all buffer requirement for the province.
The biggest stocks would come from the commercial traders and the household stocks of farmers, which can comprise the total available supply for an area.
NFA said they had released some 21,000 bags for the first wave of relief operations to COVID-19 affected families, 200 bags to municipal governments units, and 10 bags to barangay LGUS.
But in the next wave of relief operations, NFA said they might still be able to provide for the needs of the municipal governments and the Department of Social Welfare and Development bulk purchases but not anymore for every barangay.
“Our remaining inventory (is now set) for LGUS and the DSWD, and we can only cater on a first come, first served basis,” Evasco bared.
NFA assured that the current buffer stock of 26,000 bags, considering the consumption trends that the government buffer stock would still be over 15 days, is within the Rice Tarriffication Law buffer stock limits.
NFA cited an independent study to determine how much is the ideal buffer volume for NFA to maintain, and it, too, is stocking between 15 to 30 days.
With the current situation, Lim announced that they have still suspended their distribution of NFA buffer stocks to commercial sellers in the Bigasang Bayan to be able to assure stocks for those affected by the government implemented anti-COVID measures.
As to increasing its buffer stock by its local rice procurement program, Evasco said they have not had any local stocks as the government buying price is still below the commercial traders’ buying price, which she said is already good for the farmers affected by the crisis.
NFA is awaiting for a new shipment of 40,000 bags, and until then, saving on rice could be beneficial to Boholanos. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)