By Minerva Newman
CEBU CITY – There is enough supply of rice in Central Visayas, contrary to rumors that have circulated in Cebu that has been the cause of panic-buying in the province.
In a message relayed through the Office of Presidential Assistant to the President for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino, Grains Retailers Confederation (GRECON) Cebu President Teresita Alegado said that there was abundant supply of rice from the private suppliers since they were no longer limited to any quota that was formerly imposed by the government.
Alegado said that under Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law, any supplier who is willing to pay the tariff can import rice. The current supply of rice is more than double compared to what it was from this same period last year.
“We should not panic, first and foremost supply is not a problem and as long as the entry of supply and goods are not impeded, we have abundant supply of rice grains,” Alegado said.
She added that importers usually don’t wait for situations to get worst or supplies to go low, they continuously order for more supply for the market especially for the current health situation.
Alegado bared that there was rice coming to Cebu from Vietnam and Thailand, and she said that the market now was good because she noticed people are now buying the more expensive quality of rice.
She further asked the public to refrain from spreading the news of rice shortage. The National Food Authority (NFA) Central Visayas currently has a buffer stock of 139,939 sacks of rice for the region.
NFA-7 Regional Director Rocky Valdez said the daily consumption of the region is at 36,420 sacks per day, and based on the current supply and with the daily average sales of the NFA rice which is at
1,849 sacks, the supply will still be enough for 76 days.
Valdez instructed all the NFA-7 provincial offices in Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor toprioritize local government units, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and government agencies in availing of NFA rice. NFA rice is priced at P27/kilo, he added.
Authorized retailers are only allowed to purchase 15 to 30 sacks of NFA rice per week and Valdez bared that most of the public now choose to buy high end and expensive quality of rice.
Dino said he will make sure that all sanctions are imposed on all retailers who will take advantage of the current situation, and hoard rice to create an artificial shortage.