NFA Council approves draft IRR for Rice Tariffication Law
The draft Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Rice Tariffication Law has already been approved by the National Food Authority (NFA) Council, the highest policy making body of the state-run grains agency.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that NFA Council, which he chairs, already approved the amended IRR of the law, which included suggestions and recommendations of farmers and rice industry stakeholders during a series of nationwide consultations conducted recently.
Among the salient improvements in the draft IRR is the use of the concept of a “Rolling Buffer Stocking” where the National Food Authority (NFA) whose main task is now buffer stocking will buy local farmers’ produce all-year round with an optimal level of buffer stocks good for 30 days.
“However, contrary to the earlier interpretation of RA 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law that NFA will stop buying farmers produce when it reaches its ‘optimal level’ of buffer stocks at 30 days, the new IRR will allow NFA to release ‘aged stocks’ to prevent spoilage,” Piñol said.
This means that stocks in excess of the 30-day buffer will be released to the market on a “First-In, First-Out” system.
The “Rolling Buffer Stocking” system will allow the NFA to roll over its procurement funds and continuously buy local rice thus protecting the farmers from a feared drop in the buying price.
The NFA will also continue to sell rice because of the “Rolling Buffer Stocking” concept as it will have to clear its warehouses of old stocks to prevent spoilage.
Under ordinary circumstances, milled rice could only be kept for a maximum of 6 months to prevent spoilage.
While RA 11203 says NFA could only release its buffer stocks during emergencies, the IRR opened a new interpretation which would now allow NFA to dispose of old stocks, Piñol said.
This means that the imported rice acquired by the NFA recently will be released to the organised grains retailers to be sold at P27 per kilo.
The imported stocks would last until the end of August, after which the local rice stocks bought from the farmers will be milled and released to the market.