LEGAZPI City -- After unloading 540 bags of imported rice shipment from Thailand at Tabaco City Port last Sept. 1, the National Food Authority (NFA) regional office in this city reported that a “rice rush” occurred in most of their accredited outlets, wherein the public may purchase a maximum of five kilos per customer.
Henry Tristeza, NFA manager for Bicol, said they have made NFA rice fully available in Bicol public markets, while they have created stationary outlets in NFA branches all over Bicol with priority lanes serving the public from 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 5 p.m. during regular weekdays.
NFA rice is reportedly being sold at P27 per kilo at stationary outlets and P32 per kilo in accredited NFA stores in public markets. Tristeza said the influx of NFA rice in stationary and public market stores is to help reduce the region’s high inflation rate.
With the scarcity of NFA rice in the past months, commercial rice prices and prices of other essentials increased, which reportedly created the 9% inflation rate in the region in August this year.
Commercial rice traders in Legazpi City and Albay province claimed that on the first week of massive NFA rice distribution in public markets, the expensive commercial rice pegged at P47 per kilo, to as high as P50 per kilo, remained at display in public markets stalls without much takers.
The NFA regional manager said that with three batches of NFA rice shipment from Thailand consisting of an earlier 200,000 bags that arrived last Aug. 7; 164,000 bags that arrived on Aug. 25 and the recent arrival of another 236,000 bags last Sept. 5, the regional office is holding in reserve 60,000 bags as buffer stock in the event of any calamity in the last months of the year.