By Mina Diaz
The National Food Authority (NFA) deployed a mobile store in Malamawi, an island village, to serve indigenous peoples in the area by easing the rising prices of the commodity in Basilan.
NFA Officer-in-Charge Marylene Lojera assured the city government of Basilan and the public that NFA rice at P27 will be made available as stocks start coming.
Initially, the NFA released 50 bags to five accredited retailers at the Isabela City Public Market with 10 bags each to make affordable rice available to Basilan residents.
The NFA has increased the allocation from only five bags each prior to the new release.
Each family will be allowed to buy five kilograms of NFA rice at P27 per kilo to ensure that more residents will avail of the rice.
Last week, 500 bags of rice from NFA Zamboanga were delivered to Basilan intended for victims of calamities thru the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The NFA, in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture intensified its rice monitoring activities in the area to ensure that NFA rice will reach the intended beneficiaries.
It was also learned that Basilan’s current stock inventory is recorded at an alarming rate of 1,800 bags of rice as of August 3.
Isabela City Mayor Al-Qaid Akbar convened the city’s Local Price Coordinating Council participated in by the NFA and other government agencies.
Rice dealers, traders, wholesalers and retailers operating in the city were also invited.
Sixty per cent of rice in the area is sourced from Sandakan, Malaysia. However, the Malaysian government imposed stricter restrictions on rice exports to the Philippines that led to the current shortage in supplies.
Rice prices for premium rice variety were reported between P62 to P70 per kilogram over the weekend. Before the restrictions by the Malaysian government, prices of commercial rice were between P43 to 48 per kilogram. There were also no problems with the supply.
Zamboanga peninsula is another source of rice which supplies 30% of the inventory. But since it is the lean months, no harvest is being made yet.