Seeking to combat smuggling, the farmers groups and the government are moving forward in a joint thrust to make the National Food Authority (NFA) as the sole importer of ordinary rice in the Philippines.
Based on the signed Covenant of the Multi-Sectoral Groups of the Rice Industry, one of the key provisions says that farmer groups were allowed to import rice as part of the private sector allocation.
Furthermore, the NFA shall be authorized to be the sole importer of rice and allow the farmer groups/associations/cooperatives to distribute imported rice under the Institutionalized Farmers as Distributors (IFAD) program of the NFA.
According to the Rappler report, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said that the rice millers and processors also agreed to have their brand name/s registered with NFA sothat smuggled rice can easily be tracked down and identification of accountabilities as an added safety net and as a mid-term solution to smuggling.
The said groups also called on President Benigno Aquino III to issue a public declaration in support of the Anti-Smuggling Drive and grant the Department of Agriculture (DA) access to the Customs area where reported alleged smuggled rice are discharged or stored.
20.4 million metric tons of palay are intended to be produced in the country this year with 10.9 billion allocation for the procurement of 615,985 MT palay from farmers.
The NFA buys clean and dry palay at P17 per kilogram (kg) with additional incentives such as graduated delivery fee up to a maximum P0.50/kg; drying incentive fee of P0.20/kg; and CDIF of P0.30/kg. IMT