July 30, 2010
QUEZON CITY – The National Food Authority (NFA) has asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to help curb rice smuggling in the country. “I ask NBI to help stop this activity,” NFA Administrator Lito Banayo said, adding that the request aims to protect rice farmers from price drops that occur when there is oversupply of the staple grain. “There’s too much rice supply at present,” he said. Banayo highlighted the need for NBI action, saying latest available data show up to 500 metric tons of rice are smuggled annually. “That’s equal to 10 million sacks of rice,” he said.
Conditions point to oversupply of rice at present, Banayo said. He said the prevailing pace at which NFA rice sells proves the market is saturated with this staple grain. “We used to sell about 200,000 bags daily but this dropped to 126,000 bags already,” he said.
He also said NFA already doubled in the past four years the number of warehouses it rents to accommodate rice it bought. NFA already rents about 400 of its 720 warehouses nationwide, he said. “We can see from this there’s a big supply of rice,” he said. Banayo said rice supply at present is so much that the country need not import more of such grain in 2010. “There’ll be no such importation this year,” he said.