NFA halts auction of rice stocks as harvests come in
The National Food Authority has suspended the auction of its remaining imported rice stocks to prevent farm gate prices from falling with some farmers already beginning to harvest their summer crop.
“It would be unfair to our farmers for the NFA to unload stocks into the commercial market at this time that they are selling their harvest,” NFA Administrator Renan Dalisay said in a statement released today.
Even if the volume of the harvest is still low, the NFA said proceeding with the auction would send the wrong signal and distort the market.
Farm gate prices of palay averaged at P17.89 per kilogram in the first week of April, slightly higher from a year ago, that roughly translates to P35 per kilo when processed into rice. The old rice stocks that were almost bidded out had a floor price of P21 per kilogram.
The rice that was to be auctioned off were imported in 2014, representing three percent of the total imported that year. While the agency has a policy of stocking rice for only six months to avoid losses, the NFA said its technical research services department and food development center has recommended the reprocessing of the old rice stocks to ensure it remains fit for human consumption.
The NFA Council had earlier decided to auction the stocks with a strict provision requiring the winning bidder to process it again by milling it over or reconditioning.
The stocks formed part of the NFA’s buffer stock that were not sold because of the ample supply of competitively priced commercial rice in the market.
Dalisay, however, said the NFA continues to release rice to farmers affected by the El Nino through local government units and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. (By: Eileen A. Mencias)