NFA Rice Under Scrutiny: DA Orders Audit, Marcos Slams Imports

NFA Rice Under Scrutiny: DA Orders Audit, Marcos Slams Imports

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is ordering an audit of the National Food Authority’s (NFA) handling of rice buffer stocks since 2019. This move comes as Congress investigates the recent sale of government rice reserves to private traders.

Concerns Over Rice Buffer Stock Sales

DA Secretary William Dar explained the audit aims to determine if there were any irregularities in how the NFA managed rice stocks. He cited the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), which restricts the NFA from selling rice directly to consumers. However, Secretary Dar raised concerns that “unscrupulous officials and traders” might have exploited loopholes through the sale of aging rice reserves.

Transparency in Rice Management Sought

The DA chief emphasized the importance of transparency in rice management. The audit, he said, will help identify any patterns in rice disposal that could disadvantage the government. This information will be crucial for improving the system and ensuring that rice buffer stocks are used effectively to stabilize rice prices and food security.

Separate Investigation by Congress

This audit is separate from the ongoing congressional inquiry into the sale of rice buffer stocks. Both aim to achieve the same goal: to understand how rice is being managed and ensure the government’s programs function efficiently. Ultimately, these investigations aim to benefit Filipino consumers.

Marcos Slams Rice Importation

Further complicating the situation, Senator Imee Marcos recently criticized the government’s rice importation policy. She argues that excessive rice imports hurt Filipino farmers’ livelihoods. This adds another layer to the ongoing debate about rice management in the Philippines.

The coming weeks and months will likely see further developments in both the DA audit and the congressional investigation. The government wants to make sure rice stock management is transparent and accountable. This is important because rice buffer stocks are essential for ensuring the country’s food security.



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