NFA rice to remain available despite rice tariff scheme

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 28) — National Food Authority (NFA) rice will still be available in markets despite the rice tariffication system, an official of the National Economic and Development Authority said Thursday.

According to Socioeconomic Assistant Secretary Mercedita Sombilla, the NFA will continue to have rice buffer stocks but only for emergency purposes and disaster relief programs. These NFA rice, she said, will all be sourced from local farmers.

If there is no emergency, the buffer stocks will be sold in local markets, Sombilla said.

The official said prices of some rice in the market may even be cheaper than NFA rice with the new policy. NFA rice currently sells for ₱27 to ₱32 per kilogram.

READ: Rice prices to go down by ₱2-7 per kilogram under tariffication system – DOF

President Rodrigo Duterte enacted the rice tariffication law on February 14. The Finance department earlier said the policy will be implemented on March 5.

The rice tarrification law lowers the price of rice by easing import restrictions, which in turn would increase the supply in the country. Under the law, businesses and individuals can buy rice from foreign sources and just pay the 40 percent tariff. Tax proceeds will fund programs to help farmers such as mass irrigation, rice storage and research initiatives.