With just a little over a month before the new Administration takes over, Renan Dalisay announced his resignation as administrator of the state-run National Food Authority (NFA).
He leaves behind the ongoing discussions on rice importation supposedly for buffer stocking during the lean months.
Citing health and personal reasons in his letter sent to the Office of the President, Dalisay said his resignation should take effect April 30.
“I’m just waiting for the consideration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd. But I have to do this now. If I don’t do this, it may further cause more damage to my health, and also affect the agency,” the NFA chief told reporters on the sidelines of the Food Guardian Volunteer Program launch in Quezon City.
Dalisay was elected as NFA administrator in November 2014, replacing the controversial Arthur Juan, who resigned due to “failing health.”
Before being appointed by Aquino as member of the NFA Council, Dalisay was special assistant for NFA concerns to Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis Pangilinan.
Asked how his resignation will affect negotiations for the country’s rice requirement for the lean months, Dalisay said that the NFA Council is scheduled to meet on Wednesday (yesterday) to discuss the options on rice importation.
“The talks may include possibly leaving the decision – on how much to buy and when – to the administration after President Aquino,” he said.
Dalisay noted the council has prepared all possible rice importation schemes for approval of the next administration.
Aquino policymakers are eyeing the utilization of the minimum access volume (MAV) for buffer stocking. Another option being considered is through government-led importation, using the standby authority to buy about 500,000 MT of the commodity.
MAV is the minimum volume of farm produce allowed to enter the Philippines at a reduced tariff of 35 percent. Shipments outside MAV pay higher rates of 50 percent and must be approved by the NFA.
At present, Manila limits to 805,000 metric tons the amount of rice allowed to enter the country through the scheme.
“Personally, I think it would be better that we include the next administration in the rice importation discussion. But it is still up to the policymakers to decide on whether to push through now or just wait for the new NFA chief to decide,” he added.
Dalisay assured that the country has enough buffer stock of rice in government warehouses to keep prices stable in the coming months.
“We have about 31 days . . . We don’t usually have more than the mandated inventory during lean months,” he added.
The state-run grains agency is required by law to have at least 15-day buffer stock at any given time, and 30 days during lean months.
The lean season is from July to September.