A METRO Manila solon disclosed yesterday that at least 13 rice traders are doing business as a cartel amid reports of a rice shortage.
At yesterday’s House inquiry on the shortage of cheaper rice or the so-called NFA rice, Manila Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez named the 13 rice traders allegedly controlling prices of rice in the capital region.
This prompted the House committee on agriculture and food chaired by ANAC-IP party-list Rep. Jose Panganiban to invite the companies to the next hearing.
They are: Evergreen, Rising Sun, GRC, CGG, Expo, ARNS, Working Gold, Leoneco, PMT, Hype Rice, LM Rice Cereal, MML Grain and Grandio.
According to Lopez since the 1980s these firms have been hoarding rice from the National Food Authority (NFA) to mix with other rice types and resell the mixed grains as commercial rice.
“Labingtatlong warehouses – ang tatayog. Mas maganda pa sa warehouse niyo. Day in day out they have a supply of rice. Sila po ang nagko-control ng presyo sa Metro Manila,” he said.
Lopez likewise urged Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol and National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Jason Aquino to inspect the warehouses of the said traders.
“Buksan niyo. Inspeksyunin niyo. Binibili nila ‘yung NFA rice hinahalo para sa commercial rice,” he added.
Meanwhile, the remaining NFA rice stock is only good for one and a half days.
Aquino said that as of February 14, the total remaining NFA rice stock is equivalent to 1,122,376 bags.