Links dedicated to rice crisis monitoring:
- No quick therapy for food price inflation despite counter-measures to ease pressure (Xinhua)
- Zambo faces price crisis, not rice shortage (PIA)
- Rice crisis persists as Philippine tender falls short (Reuters)
- Global Crisis Grows As Food Prices Soar (Chicago Tribune)
- UN urges action on food crisis (EPA)
- Rice Cards Could Spark Riots–Mar (Manila Times)
- Unesco calls for agriculture reform (Agence France Agency)
- KMP warns gov’t vs pullout of low-priced NFA rice in markets
No quick therapy for food price inflation despite counter-measures to ease pressure
by He Jing
BEIJING, April 15 (Xinhua) — Food price inflation which has aroused growing concerns worldwide seems unlikely to be cured quickly despite counter-measures by world institutions and the crisis-plagued nations.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned last Friday that food riots in developing countries would spread unless major steps are taken to cut down prices for the poor.
By far, civil disturbance and riots caused by food shortage and higher prices have erupted reportedly in about 33 countries worldwide. Among them, 20 had imposed related food-price controls.
Compared with people in rich countries who have begun to feel the pinch of higher food prices, the effect is far more pronounced in poor nations where more than 50 percent of the income goes to food.
PRICE HIKE THREATENS STABILITY IN ASIA
The World Bank has warned of possible heightened political tension in Asia if rising inflation hampers poverty reduction measures. Asian leaders are on guard against potential social unrest as people across the region struggled to cope with spiraling cost of food and other essentials.
In the Philippines, one of the hardest hit by soaring rice price, people have been scrambling to bolster their stockpiles ahead of a traditional lean period in third quarter.
Consumers in the capital Manila have queued to buy state-subsidized bags of grain amid worries about shortage while troops were deployed to allocate grain to poor areas of the capital.
Analysts have warned that the price hike could trigger unrest in the island nation following rioting in countries such as Haiti and Egypt.
In Vietnam, strikes broke out more frequently after the Consumer Price Index rose more than 16 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2008.
The price of rice in poverty-stricken Bangladesh has jumped by more than 30 percent in the past year. Last Saturday, some 20,000 workers rioted over high food price and low wages near its capital Dhaka. At least 50 protesters were injured in a clash with the police who fired tear gas and used batons to disperse the demonstrators.
Even in Thailand, the world’s leading exporter of rice, worries about supply shortage have sparked panic buying as consumers stock up in hopes of beating future price hikes.
The benchmark Thai variety, Thai Pathumthani fragrant rice, was priced more than 900 U.S. dollars per ton in April, up 50 percent from one month earlier, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association.
Experts attributed the food price inflation in Asia to mounting global crude oil prices. Global investment fund as well as the weak dollar are also among the factors responsible for high world food prices, according to a senior FAO official.
MEASURES TAKEN TO COPE WITH CRISIS
The Philippine government has temporarily lifted the quotas on rice to ensure sufficient domestic supply. It also announced major new investments to boost agricultural production early April.
Last Friday, it called for a meeting of Asian ministers to discuss a global rush for the grain that has heightened concerns about food security.
“We must address the plight of poor families in the countries most affected by the price rise crisis,” Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said at a meeting at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).
In Malaysia, the Agriculture Ministry said it planned to earmark an additional 1.9 billion U.S. dollars to open up new rice plantations and build irrigation to raise production.
FAO Director General Jacques Diouf said the priority to solve food crisis was a “massive seed transfer” to ensure farmers in poor countries could buy seeds, fertilizer and feed at prices they could afford.
The creation of financial mechanisms to enable poor food importing countries to buy needed food and offer an aid budget to agriculture would also be helpful in addressing the problem, he added.
NO IMMEDIATE CURE FOR FOOD CRISIS
Despite the efforts, the IRRI predicted last week that rice prices could probably keep rising for some time as production fails to keep up with soaring demand.
Experts say that even though world cereal production is expected to increase this year by 2.6 percent to a record 2.16 billion tons, this would have little impact on the prices because price speculation and market failures will likely to reduce the effect of boosted production.
“All indication we have is that this is not a short-term effect,” Diouf has said.
World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned that the rising trend of prices could continue for several years.
“This is not a this-year phenomenon, I think it is going to continue for some time,” he added.
Editor: Song Shutao
Zambo faces price crisis, not rice shortage
Zamboanga City (17 April) — Officials from the National Food Authority (NFA) yesterday assured that Zamboanga City has a sufficient rice supply that can last until the next cropping season
NFA Regional Director Rolando Maravilla made this assurance during a meeting called by Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday morning at City Hall to assess the rice situation in the city in the wake of a nationwide rice crisis.
However, Maravilla said a price crisis occurs in the city as some rice traders have resorted to unjustified rice price increase.
In view of this, Mayor Lobregat has directed the NFA, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in coordination with the City Administrator’s Office and other agencies concerned to strictly monitor the situation and ensure that rice prices are maintained at the normal level.
Maravilla said unlike other areas in the country, Zamboanga has adequate supply of citing the over 300, 000 bags of rice stocked at the NFA warehouse which can supply the city’s demand for the next 50 days. In addition to this, 22, 000 bags of rice are expected to arrive from Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur and the neighboring areas.
Ramon “Poch” Bucoy of the Department of Agriculture regional office shared that additional rice supply would be ready for harvest next month.
Despite the figures, Mayor Lobregat expressed concern that the public might perceive a rice crisis and might resort to panic buying and overstocking. He appealed to the members of the press present during the meeting to be very careful so as not to frighten the public and cause artificial shortage.
The DTI disclosed that part of the problem is also the proliferation of adulterated rice. Taking advantage of the situation, some retailers at the main market were observed to be selling NFA rice at commercial prices.
In one of the inspections conducted by the agency, 13 retailers were caught selling the 18-per-kilo NFA rice at 23 to 25 per kilo.
And in view of the perceived rice shortage, people cue for NFA rice, however, in some instances, it is suspected that some people might be businessmen who purchase NFA rice to resell as fancy rice.
Meanwhile, Mayor Lobregat directed the DTI and the NFA to join forces in identifying, apprehending and sanctioning violators. He also enjoined the police and military’s Task Force Zamboanga to help facilitate the smooth entry of rice supply from the neighboring provinces into the city.
Also in attendance during the meeting at City Hall were representatives from Grains Retailers Association, Consumernet, Zamboanga Market Stall Owners Association, Philippine Information Agency, local media, city department heads and other agencies concerned. (CIO/PIA Z.C) [top]
Rice crisis persists as Philippine tender falls short
Published: April 17, 2008
BANGKOK: The sense of crisis in the rice market showed no signs of easing Thursday, as prices continued their record climb and a tender from the Philippines, the world’s top importer, attracted offers to sell only about two-thirds of the half-a-million tons it had sought.
In Bangkok, Thai 100 percent B-grade white rice, considered the world’s benchmark, hit $950 per ton, free on board, three times its price at the start of 2007. U.S. rice futures, meanwhile, surged 2 percent on the Chicago Board of Trade to a record for the third straight session, reaching $23.12 per 100 pounds.
“There’s been a popular misconception that the world can produce as much food as it likes,” Gerry Lawson, chairman of the Australian rice company Sunrice, said. “Well, it obviously can’t. And Asia can’t feed itself at the moment.”
Thailand is biggest exporter, accounting for nearly a third of world rice exports. Both it and Vietnam, the number two exporter, are urging farmers to plant additional crops, although it will be several months before the extra supply hits the market.
Meanwhile, demand from other big importers like Iran, which is expected to try to buy up to 1 million tons of Thai rice this year, will keep the upward pressure on prices, analysts said.
“There will be Iran, Japan and another round of tenders in the Philippines which will help boost prices,” said Paka-on Tipayatanadaja, a rice market analyst at the Kasikorn Research Center in Bangkok. “I’m sure we will not see Thai rice prices at $300 a ton again.”
The Philippine government received offers in its latest tender between $872.50 and $1,220 a ton, sharply higher than in March when it paid just over $700.
As a measure of the seriousness of the problem, Manila has temporarily halted conversion of agricultural land for property development, hoping to ring-fence paddy fields to meet the food needs of the country’s 88 million people.
Armed soldiers stand guard during sales of subsidized rice by the state National Food Authority and the government has filed charges against 13 people suspected of hoarding.
UN urges action on food crisis
Spiralling food prices has led to rioting
in poor cities around the globe [EPA]
The UN has called on the international community to take urgent action against the global food crisis, warning that escalating prices could undo years of progress in poverty alleviation.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said on Monday that immediate measures were needed to meet food demand and combat rising costs.
“The rapidly escalating crisis of food availability around the world has reached emergency proportions,” he said at a UN meeting in Washington.
Joining the growing call for action, Ban said a concerted move would “avoid the larger political and security implications of this growing crisis”.
“We need not only short-term emergency measures to meet urgent critical needs and avert starvation in many regions across the world, but also a significant increase in long-term productivity in food grain production.”
“Developing countries need external assistance – especially better technology and increased financing – to rise to this challenge,” he said, noting that climate change also raised similar threats.
Key UN financial, economic and trade institutions convened an emergency meeting to discuss long-term aid amid concerns that the crisis could lead to serious political upheavals.
The World Bank on Sunday warned that soaring food prices in recent years could push 100 million people in developing nations further into poverty.
Robert Zoellick, the World Bank president, in urging wealthy nations to “put our money where our mouth is”, said a prolonged food crisis could wipe out seven years of progress made in reducing global poverty.
Global food crisis
Food riots have erupted in countries including Haiti, Egypt, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Madagascar, the Philippines and Haiti in the past month
In Pakistan and Thailand, army troops have been deployed to avoid food being seized from fields and warehouses
Prices in these countries for foodstuffs such as rice, wheat, sorghum and maize have doubled
Causes of crisis range from financial speculation on food commodities, desertification, population increases, China and India’s economic growth and use of grains to make biofuels
Cost of funding projects enabling governments to tackle food crisis could be up to $1.7bn
However world cereal production in 2008 is projected to increase by 2.6 per cent to a record 2,164 million tonnes
Source: United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)
The United States has authorised the release of $200m in emergency food aid to help alleviate food shortages worldwide, the White House said in a statement on Monday.
“This additional food aid will address the impact of rising commodity prices on US emergency food aid programmes and be used to meet unanticipated food aid needs in Africa and elsewhere,” the statement said.
The pledge by the US, the largest provider of food aid in the world, comes a day after the World Bank announced a “new plan” to help those affected by the crisis and, alongside the International Monetary Fund (IMF), urged wealthy nations to contribute $500m towards easing the problem.
Food security has become a major concern in recent weeks as supplies of basic commodities dwindled in the face of soaring demand, triggering riots and outbreaks of violence in Haiti, Africa and the Far East.
Increases in the price of rice, wheat, corn, cooking oil, milk and other foodstuff have sparked violent protests in at least 37 countries including Egypt, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Madagascar, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Global Crisis Grows As Food Prices Soar
Posted on: Wednesday, 16 April 2008, 09:00 CDT
NEW DELHI, India — To support his family of six, Raju sells plastic packets of chilled water to commuters on a busy New Delhi roadside. Like many Indians, he normally spends more than half of his monthly income to buy food.
But over the past year, as world food prices have soared and inflation began creeping up, the rice, lentils and wheat his family needs have begun to take as much as 70 percent of his meager monthly salary of $77. With the other 30 percent of the family’s income committed to rent, they have had to give up buying vegetables _ meat and milk have never been affordable _ and will simply have to go hungry if prices rise any further.
“We’re barely managing,” said the 36-year-old, who goes by only one name.
With India’s inflation hitting 7 percent, “I don’t see any improvement coming,” he said. “There will be riots if this gets worse.”
As global food prices race upward, no place demonstrates the growing risks to the planet as much as India _ home to more than half of the world’s hungry.
Worldwide, food prices have soared 45 percent over the past year as surging oil prices make growing and transporting food more expensive and as economic growth in emerging giants such as China and India leads to rising demand for food, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.
Ramped-up production of biofuels, particularly in the U.S., also is taking an increasing share of the world’s food production, and droughts and floods possibly linked to global warming have slashed harvests in leading grain producers such as Australia.
In richer developed nations, where people spend an average of 10 to 15 percent of their disposable income on food, price hikes have been a growing irritation. But in the developing world, where most poor people spend at least half of their income to eat, rising costs threaten to create major social unrest.
In Haiti, at least five protesters were killed last week after hungry mobs tried to storm the presidential palace, and on Saturday lawmakers voted to dismiss the country’s prime minister. Food riots have also flared across Africa’s Sahel and in Mexico, Uzbekistan and Morocco. Egypt’s government has put the army to work baking subsidized bread.
All told, 33 countries around the world are at risk of social upheaval as a result of acute increases in food and energy prices, said Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, in a speech this month. In countries where buying food requires half to three-quarters of a poor person’s income, “there is no margin for survival,” he warned.
U.N. officials said Friday that the problems are likely to persist despite an expected increase in global cereal production over the next year.
“All indications we have is that this is not a short-term effect,” Jacques Diouf, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization, said at a news conference in Rome.
India, which has more malnourished people than anywhere else in the world _ even more than sub-Saharan Africa in both absolute and percentage terms _ is so far not counted among the countries most in danger.
Largely that’s because its government runs the world’s biggest food aid program, an $8.4 billion effort that pushes 15 million tons of subsidized wheat and rice a year to hundreds of millions of people. The United Nations’ World Food Program, the world’s biggest food relief aid agency, by comparison, ships just 5 million tons of food a year to 73 million hungry people at a cost of $3.4 billion, WFP officials said.
India also enjoys an impressive economic growth rate of better than 8 percent a year, deep cash reserves of $300 billion and near-self-sufficiency in basic grains, all of which have helped insulate it from the world food price shock.
But India has the potential to play a big role in accelerating the world’s developing food crisis. With its population and its per capita demand for food growing faster than its agricultural productivity, the nation of 1.1 billion is edging toward becoming a net importer of food, a reality that could turn the current spikes in international food prices into consistent highs for a decade or more as demand grows, analysts say.
India, the world’s biggest rice producer after China, is also a major exporter of rice to Bangladesh, one of the poorest and most vulnerable nations in the world. Its decision late last month to ban exports of all but high-priced basmati rice could eventually hit hard at Bangladesh and other hungry neighbors, which may be forced to start importing food at prices higher than those they pay to India. So far Bangladesh has received a limited exemption from the export curb.
Inside India itself, inflation is eroding the buying power of millions of people like Raju with little ability to pay more for food. That is a huge political worry for India’s ruling party, which faces elections this year and already has begun pulling a variety of economic levers, including cutting duties on imported food, in a desperate effort to hold down prices.
India today sets its poverty line at an income of about 33 cents a day, a third of the international extreme poverty standard of $1 a day. As food prices rise, it may be forced to recalibrate its calculation of the number of Indian families who need help, requiring the government to add billions of dollars a year to a food aid budget that already has surged 27 percent since the 2006-07 financial year.
“India’s capacity to cope is immense,” said Gianpietro Bordignon, the World Food Program’s India director. “They have the biggest food safety net in the world. The question is how long that will be affordable as the costs increase more and more.”
The World Food Program already faces deep cuts in its efforts because of a $500 million budget shortfall caused largely by rising food prices.
India hopes to address its own looming problem by increasing its agricultural productivity, now just half that of China, which has much more irrigated farmland, said Ramesh Chand, an agricultural economist at the National Center for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research.
But in a country where 60 percent to 70 percent of people make their living farming small plots and there are few jobs for unskilled labor in the cities, moving small farmers off their land to expand larger-scale agriculture would be difficult.
A better option for cutting hunger, Indian agricultural economists say, would be new government-funded work programs to build irrigation canals and improve a disastrous infrastructure, particularly rural roads that are now so overburdened and potholed that more than 30 percent of the country’s agricultural produce spoils on the way to market.
Increasing agricultural output fast enough will be tough, particularly with the government announcing last week that it intends to put 30 million acres into biofuel crops by 2017.
In India, as in much of the world, nobody is quite sure whether world food production will increase to meet growing demand _ as has happened repeatedly over the centuries _ or whether a new era of permanently higher prices and hungrier times is on the horizon.
“It’s a very difficult question,” said Arif Husain, a food policy analyst with the World Food Program in Rome. “Nobody knows what the long run means right now. We are in uncharted waters.”
Source: Chicago Tribune
Rice Cards Could Spark Riots–Mar
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd warned the government against issuing “rice access cards” that he said could cause “more confusion” among consumers and spark “food riots.”
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap on Tuesday was reported to have announced that the issuance of rice access cards to poor families would be completed in three weeks at most.
Without a “competent system” in place and “clear guidelines” for the National Food Authority (NFA) to follow, the access cards could be abused by local government officials who will issue the cards, Roxas said in a statement Wednesday.
The government said it is confident that riots will not erupt even without the rice access cards and under a new rice distribution system that ensures cheap subsidized rice will go only to the poor. This system will see the pullout of government rice from public markets, also in three weeks at most, Yap said. The rice will still be sold at P18.25 per kilo.
“Chaos usually erupts when systems are not in place. The President [Gloria Arroyo] has ordered the different government agencies and other stakeholders to use the existing system of the [Department of Social Welfare and Development] in identifying or mapping of the target populations and making sure that they will be getting enough supply of rice with the coordination of the [local government units] and the [Catholic Church],” Deputy Press Secretary Anthony Golez said also on Wednesday.
To compensate for the withdrawal of the National Food Authority rice, the government will make available commercial-grade US rice imports to be sold at P25 per kilo in the public markets. The government will sell the US rice in Metro Manila and other regions starting this week.
Fr. Anton Pascual, the executive director of Caritas Manila, said pulling out the government-subsidized rice from the markets could further agitate the public’s negative perception of the rice crisis. Caritas Manila is a charity group run by the Catholic Church.
“This won’t do no good, what is important is the distribution process. [The withdrawal] would create more false speculations and animosity,” Pascual told reporters.
Roxas, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, recommended an expansion of the Food-for-Work program where poor families are harnessed to help in their communities, in exchange for a stable supply of food.”
He said the executive is “focused merely on political considerations, which do not provide any real help to the people” reeling from a supposed rice shortage. He asked the government to spell out instead its plans for increased rice production and to come clean on the “rice crisis.”
On the flour front, President Arroyo personally supervised on Wednesday the forfeiture of Chinese wheat flour worth P31.7 million.
Shipments of the flour were seized after an alleged attempt to smuggle them in through the Port of Manila was foiled by authorities. They lacked import permit, among other alleged deficiencies.
Like the smugglers, the government said “hoarders or shameless business opportunists” are on the watch list of the National Bureau of Investigation to ensure they will not sabotage the state’s responses to the crisis.
The Port of Manila collector, Horado Suansing, issued the forfeiture order against the flour shipments that came from China and allegedly consigned to Rubills International Inc. and Fao Fil Haus Enterprise.
Forfeited in favor of the government, the flour shipments will be disposed of based on existing rules. After clearance from the Bureau of Food and Drugs, the shipments will be auctioned off to augment rice supply.
Last week, Trade Secretary Peter Favila said the government was planning to flood the markets with basic commodities, such as rice and flour, in a bid to allay public jitters over soaring world prices of the two commodities.
Also apparently pitching in are the country’s flour millers, who said Filipinos can still have their favorite breakfast bread—pan de sal—at P1.50 a piece despite escalating prices of rice and flour in the world.
–Angelo S. Samonte, Anthony Vargas, Ira Karen Apanay And Sammy Martin
Unesco calls for agriculture reform
Bangladeshis demonstrate over high food prices and low wages near Dhaka, the capital [AFP]
Agricultural countries must urgently change their policies to avoid worldwide social breakdown and environmental collapse, a report commissioned by Unesco, the United Nation’s education and scientific agency, has said.
The report comes amid mounting social and political unrest in several countries which has been triggered by rising food prices.
In their analysis, the study group of some 400 experts, said: “Modern agriculture will have to change radically to better serve the poor and hungry if the world is to cope with a growing population and climate change while avoiding social breakdown and environmental collapse.”
The report, compiled by the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development, said that “continuing with current trends in production and distribution would exhaust our resources and put our children’s future in jeopardy”.
Bob Watson, director of the study group, said calling for changes to agricultural practices was an “old message” that “has not always had resonance in some parts of the world”.
“If those with power are now willing to hear it, then we may hope for more equitable policies that do take the interests of the poor into account,” he said.
Basic foodstuff prices have all risen sharply in recent months, sparking violent protests in many countries, including Egypt, Haiti, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Madagascar, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Unesco said wheat prices have risen 130 per cent since March 2007, while soy prices jumped 87 per cent.
The World Bank said last week that world food prices have risen 83 per cent over the last three years.
Tuesday’s report said the prices of staple foods such as rice, maize and wheat are expected to continue to rise.
Some critics have blamed the increase in food prices on increasing use of biofuels.
With crude oil prices high, some farmers have turned to growing wheat, sugar beets or other products to produce fuels for use in vehicles.
The report urged agricultural science to pay greater attention to safeguarding natural resources and to promoting “agro-ecological” practices, such as the use of natural fertilisers and traditional seeds and reducing the distance between the farm and the consumer.
The study group was originally formed in 2002 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Bank.
The FAO, which contributed to the report, said food represents 60 to 80 per cent of consumer spending in developing countries, compared with about 10 to 20 percent in industrialised nations.
Meanwhile, the Philippine government said on Tuesday that the US had agreed to sell 100,000 tonnes of rice to help bolster its government stocks.
Arthur Yap, the country’s agriculture secretary, said in Manila that authorities were investigating alleged rice hoarding and speculation.
On Monday, the US had promised $200m to help poor nations combat the global food crisis.
Dana Perino, White House spokeswoman, said: “This additional food aid will address the impact of rising commodity prices on US emergency food aid programmes, and be used to meet unanticipated food aid needs in Africa and elsewhere.”
She said the president had raised the issue with his national security advisors and had asked the state department and the US Agency for International Development to look at what could be done in the near term.
Also on Tuesday, at least 15,000 Bangladesh garment factory workers went on strike to call for higher wages as food prices in the impoverished nation soared.
KMP warns gov’t vs pullout of low-priced NFA rice in markets
04/16/2008 | 10:24 AM
MANILA, Philippines – The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Wednesday cautioned the National Food Authority (NFA) against its plan to pull out NFA rice being sold at P18.25 from local markets.
KMP chairman Rafael Mariano said this move – which comes amid rising prices of commercial rice and other basic commodities – will earn the ire of poor Filipinos who now rely on low-priced NFA rice to feed their families.
“The Filipino people will definitely be enraged by this move because majority of the populace now rely on NFA subsidize rice to feed their families. Every Filipino has a right to access cheap food and no discrimination should accompany it,” Mariano said.
“If they are saying that there is enough supply of rice, why (pull out the low-priced NFA rice from the market)? Besides, 90% of Filipinos are already poor so it will be best if the NFA rice remains in the market,” he added.
Mariano said the pull out of cheap NFA rice from the market merely reflects the government’s failure to ensure food security. “The essence of food security is that the government should provide ample supply of food to its constituents relying on the production of its own people. But as it is with the Macapagal-Arroyo regime, the opposite is happening,” he said.
The group blamed the massive land use conversions behind the failure to locally produce an ample supply of rice.
Mariano noted that the government issued an order suspending land use conversions, there have been no directives banning crop conversions and reverting converted rice lands back to their original use.
KMP said in Southern Tagalog alone 1,302, 375.37 hectares are already under land use conversion and 172,967.30 hectares have already been converted.
Earlier in the day, NFA administrator Jessup Navarro said they are pushing through with a two-week transition period to pull out its low-priced rice from local markets, citing the need to focus the lower-priced P18.25-per-kilo rice on urban poor families who could not afford higher-priced rice.
Navarro said cheap rice will instead be sold directly to poor consumers in village and municipal halls. He said the NFA is coordinating with local government units and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to map out areas where they can sell the low-priced rice to the poor.
However, NFA noted that it will maintain the presence of higher-priced and “higher quality” NFA rice being sold at P25 a kilo in local markets. – GMANews.TV