National Economic and Development Authority backs enhanced NFA responsibilities

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has expressed its support for expanding the role of the National Food Authority (NFA) in buffer stocking by allowing it to import rice during emergency situations.

NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan stated that they are in favor of strengthening the NFA’s function in buffer stocking for emergency purposes. This move comes in light of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) which currently limits the NFA’s role to buffer stocking during emergencies such as droughts, calamities, and typhoons.

Balisacan emphasized that under the RTL, the NFA is required to source rice for buffer stocking only from local farmers. However, he believes that the NFA should have the flexibility to secure rice from the market or through importation if necessary.

The House of Representatives recently approved a bill seeking to amend the RTL, aiming to restore NFA’s ability to sell cheaper rice to stabilize prices and address supply issues during emergencies. This proposed measure would allow the NFA to import rice as a last resort when local stocks are not available.

Despite opposition from some groups, including the Foundation for Economic Freedom, who fear that this change could reverse gains made from the reforms in the RTL, NEDA stands firm in its support for a stronger role for the NFA in ensuring food security during crises.

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