NFA under DA supervision should prioritize adequate rice supply

By Genalyn Kabiling

Ensuring the “seamless” rice importation and adequate supply of the staple must be the priority of the National Food Authority (NFA) now that it is under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture (DFA), Malacañang declared Thursday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque speaks during a press briefing at the New Executive Building in Malacanang, Friday. (CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN) Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque

With the latest reorganization in the NFA, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said President Duterte expects a better coordination between the agriculture department and the agency on implementing in its mandate on national food security.

"Syempre ang pinaka-importante ang pinakamalapit sa ating tiyan yung ating National Food Authority kinakailangan na seamless ang pag-aangkat ng bigas. Kinakailangan sapat ang ating supply ng bigas [Of course the most important (priority) is the closest to our stomach. The National Food Authority must ensure a seamless importation of rice and sufficient supply of rice Roque said during a Palace press briefing when asked about the priorities of the NFA.

"Kinakailangan ang balanse na sapat ang supply pero hindi maapektuhan ang kita ng mga lokal ng magsasaka ," he said.

Roque said since the agriculture department holds the data on local rice production, the NFA could determine the schedule of rice importation in a "more efficient" way. He noted that the NFA would be able to when and how much rice would be imported depending on the local harvest.

President Duterte recently issued Executive Order No. 62 returning the NFA, Philippine Coconut Authority and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority to the control and supervision of the DA.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has also been designated as the chairman of the NFA Council, taking the post vacated by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr.

The transfer of supervision aims to “ensure efficiency and coordination in the performance of their respective mandates, consistent with the efforts to streamline the operations of government.”

“There is a need to recognize the NFA Council for the effective formulation and coordination of a comprehensive program for the development and promotion of efficiency and productivity in the food industry,” the order read.