Visayan city reels from rice shortage

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TACLOBAN: Rice traders in local markets are howling over scant supply of the staple but the local National Food Authority (NFA) insists there is sufficient rice supply.

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Annabelle Villas, who works for a local rice trader said in an interview today that the stocks that arrive to their store are commercial rice that came from Cebu. A total of 150 sacks of commercial rice were delivered to them this morning. Despite this, Villas maintained that supply of rice in the local market falls short especially now that there is no available locally produced rice.

There is no rice available rice supply that’s why her store stocking area is empty, revealed Amy Marson another trader in the public market. She said that local market price today ranges from P1,960 to 1,970 per sack. A sack of imported rice previously fetched P1,850 to 1,870.

She points to the rice shortage as the cause of the surge in rice prices.

Marson disclosed that there is no available locally grown rice and hoped that before the month ends, local rice will start to arrive in the markets as harvest starts in the middle of September.

She also blamed the shortage to non-delivery of the National Food Authority rice to the market.

Haidee Ygaña, a rice trader said that the NFA has failed to deliver for a week, thereby causing the price spike. She said that their stocks are imported rice sourced from Manila and Cebu.

She added that rice sold at P47 per kilo and above is the rice produced from their farms in Valencia and San Jose.

Muhaldin Amlih of the local NFA office confirmed that they have yet to release rice to local traders because they have just completed the unloading of stocks from Cebu on Thursday. He assured local traders that they will start the distribution by next week.

He added that the stocks to be distributed by next week are imported Vietnam rice.

As of press time, Amlih said that the local NFA warehouse has more than 15,800 sacks—15,000 are imported from Vietnam, 800 sacks were procured from a local producer in Ormoc City and Matag-ob, Leyte.

He added that next week the local warehouse here would tie up with another warehouse so that they could come up with a buffer stock if the crisis continues.

Amlih disclosed that on Monday some of their staff would begin procurement from local rice farmers. He said that dry rice is procured at P17 per kilo, freshly harvested rice fetches at P14 to P15 per kilo.

Amlih disclosed that last year they exceeded to their procurement target by 50 percent because they were able to procure more than 11,000 sacks of rice from local farmers in the city, Kananga, and Matag-ob.

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