Duterte to meet with rice traders as NFA supply drops

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 04 2018 11:09 AM

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President Rodrigo Duterte will meet with rice traders on Thursday amid the dwindling supply of government-subsidized grain from the National Food Authority, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. said Wednesday.

Some businessmen often hoard rice to create a shortage of supply and justify price increases, said Evasco, who heads the NFA Council, the policy-making body of the grains agency.

"The President said to me, [he will meet with] all big traders in country tomorrow afternoon para pagsabihan na hindi na tayo magtago ng bigas," he told DZMM.

(The President said to me that he will meet with all big traders in the country tomorrow afternoon to warn them against hoarding rice.)

The Grain Retailers Confederation of the Philippines on Tuesday revealed that the supply of NFA rice has been wiped out in Metro Manila, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon regions.

Evasco's office, however, belied reports that the NFA rice reserve has been depleted.

NFA rice only accounts for some 4 percent of the total rice supply of the country, Evasco added in a separate DZMM interview.

Duterte has ordered the NFA management to import 250,000 metric tons of rice. It is expected to arrive in May.

State auditors, meanwhile, will probe the distribution of NFA rice during the last harvest season, said Evasco.

DZMM, 4 April 2018