‘Hoarded’ NFA rice in danger of rotting

National Food Authority

NATIONAL Food Authority Administrator Judy Carol Dansal admitted at a Senate hearing yesterday that there are four million bags or more than 200 million kilos of imported rice that remain stored in NFA warehouses.

“Sabihin po natin ang totoo. Kaya hindi kayo bumibili o nagbebenta kasi santabak pa yung imported,” Senator Imee Marcos told the NFA.

Dansal replied that there are still stocks of imported rice that they want to sell so they could buy new local rice.

“Ano po yung volume? Magkano ba talaga ang na-import dati?” Marcos asked.

Dansal said the government imported 1.2 million metric tons (MT) of rice but only 290,000 MT have remained unsold.

But when Marcos pressed the NFA whether there were indeed nine million bags of imported rice that are rotting in food agency’s warehouses, the administrator said:  “Four million na lang ma’am.”

Based on her own computation, however, Marcos said 4.5-million bags of rice are equivalent to 225 million kilos or a total of P6.75 billion at P27 per kilo.

“So ibig sabihin ‘andami nyong pera kung ibebenta nyo nang paspasan. Huwag hintayin na kunwari mabubulok at io-auction,” the senator added.

Meanwhile Sen. Cynthia Villar once again confronted the NFA and accused the agency of campaigning against her senatorial bid in the last elections.

During the hearing on the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law, Villar   pointed out the NFA’s lack of concern for farmers who had to seek help from local government units (LGUs) to help boost the farming industry.

“Kaya kinumbinsi na namin ang mga LGU, bigyan na lang sila ng puhunan.  Sila na mamili kasi yung mga LGUs siguro, nagpapaboto sila, gusto din naman nilang makatulong para iboto sila pagdating ng eleksyon,” Villar said.

“Yung NFA kasi hindi nagpapaboto to e kaya wala kayong pakialam kung magalit lahat ng tao dito di ba?” she added.

The senator then asked, “Di ba noong kumandidato akong sanador, sinisiraan ako nyan ng NFA e na wag daw akong iboto kasi ako daw ang may kasalanan ng lahat ng ito. Tingnan mo ang dami kong boto. Walang nakinig kasi galit sa inyo ang mga tao.”