NFA dispels reports on rice panic buying in markets

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The National Food Authority (NFA) on Saturday stressed that the country has enough supply of rice nationwide as it assured consumers that there is no panic buying in the markets contrary to reports that came out in some newspapers.

NFA administrator Orlan Calayag said the agency’s market monitoring showed there are no problems in supply as well as prices of rice in any of the markets being monitored across the country.

“We have adequate supply of rice – from regular, well-milled, premium to NFA rice – in the markets although our monitoring teams have noted a P1-P2/kilogram price increase which traditionally occur during the lean months of July to September,” he explained.

Calayag said the NFA is regularly infusing stocks into the markets to stabilize supply and prices.

He urged rice traders nationwide to exercise their social responsibility and avoid unwarranted overpricing or hoarding of the staple.

He warned that should any of these occur, the NFA can easily coordinate with the proper agencies to make the offenders accountable for their misdeeds.

“Rice is life itself for every Filipino who consumes the staple three times a day. It would be very cruel and insensitive to toy with its supply and price just to earn more profits especially during the lean months when natural calamities also hit many parts of the country,” Calayag said.

Recent news reports quoting Jaime Magbanua, president of the grains retailers’ association GRECION, claiming that a rice “shortage” has been pushing prices in Mindanao provinces.

The reports said that price increases as high as up to P10/kg in Cagayan de Oro City was triggering “panic buying” among the people whence some of them are already victims of flooding from the recent typhoons.

“We have verified these reports and found out they were untrue,” Calayag stressed.

Likewise, in a letter furnished to the NFA, Magbanua also denied issuing any such statement or having been interviewed by the news reporter who filed the story.

“NFA Davao has been monitoring the local markets three times a week and has not observed any incident of queuing for rice from June until yesterday (Friday); NFA Cagayan de Oro also dispelled any case of overpricing by up to P10/kg in any of the local markets monitored,” he noted.

He said that as per NFA monitoring reports, rice prices in Mindanao have been within reasonable levels at P30-P35/kilogram for ordinary rice, P36-P40/kg for well-milled rice, and P41 and above per kilogram for premium rice.

He also assured that rice prices are expected to drop once the harvest season starts.

“Our forecast is that rice prices will continue to drop and are expected to remain stable starting the third week of August as more of the early planters begin to harvest their crops,” Calayag said. PNA

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