by The Philippine News Agency
Consumers who bought rice from National Food Authority (NFA) accredited outlets nationwide saved about P16 billion for the whole of 2016 until the first four months of 2017.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that in 2016, the average retail price of regular-milled rice (RMR) was P37.03 per kilogram around the country. This is the same quality of NFA rice sold at P27.00 per kg. Average price for well-milled rice (WMR) was P41.42 per kg while NFA sold the same quality rice at P32 per kg.
With a price difference of about P10.00 per kg for both regular-milled and well-milled rice, consumers saved P500.00 per bag of 50 kgs.
A total of 22.84 million bags or 1.14 million metric tons of NFA rice were sold from January to December, 2016, which means consumers realized total savings worth P11.42 billion by buying government-subsidized rice within the period.
From January to April this year, NFA had already sold a total of 5,567,556 bags or 278,377,800 kgs. of rice. At the average price difference of P9.00 per kg for RMR and P8.00 per kg for WMR of commercial rice versus NFA rice, consumers saved R400-R450 per bag, or total savings of P2.2-P2.5 billion, for buying NFA rice.
“This is the impact of the NFA’s role as food security arm of government mandated to also stabilize rice supply and prices in the market,” said NFA administrator Jason Laureano Y. Aquino.
Aquino laments that many sectors have been criticizing NFA for its so-called losses or loans, but do not realize the economic impact of its services to the poor and low-income sector, which rely on NFA rice for their daily sustenance.
“NFA rice has become synonymous with the poor man’s diet and it is being regularly consumed by at least 10 million Filipinos nationwide,” Aquino explained.
Aside from providing an alternative source of cheap but good quality rice for the regular NFA rice consumers, the agency is also the main supplier of rice for relief agencies during calamities. A case in point was in 2013 when NFA supplied almost all of the rice requirements of the victims of super-typhoon Yolanda that battered Tacloban and the whole of Region 8.
Filipinos consume around 12.7 million metric tons of rice annually and NFA supplies around 10 percent of the total rice requirement. This is approximately the same volume of local production shortfall, which the government supplements via rice importation.