The price of NFA and commercial rice in Dumaguete has remained steady for the last several months at P32 per kilo and P50 per kilo respectively according to Hilaria Ganzon, NFA provincial manager and Eddie Uy of Payalin rice traders and importers.
This developed as the grains authority in the province maintains that there is no rice shortage at least in Negros Oriental. The test of a shortage situation is when people line up the markets and are given rations instead of their orders, she said.
The big problem of NFA is bureaucratric policies. Ganzon said their hands are tied because they cannot buy grains from farmers here at prices higher than P27 per kilo while the local traders buy as high as P28 per kilo.
The NFA fears the Ombudsman if they buy at a higher price which tantamounts to graft. Therefore, the NFA depends on rice shipments from Vietnam and Thailand which are shipped regularly from Cebu and Manila.
Ganzon said that when shipments of imported rice are delayed, that is when their stocks are also depleted. Negros Oriental is allotted 200,000 sacks from July to September. Another 15,000 bags have arrived. Their bodegas also have to stock enough for 15 days and when shipment is delayed, the NFA supply gets an artificial shortage.
The problem starts with the national grians council when it decided to let a private firm import the NFA rice. This firm flopped of its obligations, thus the artificial shortage.
Then came the stocks from the traders which they were free to store, thus the high prices of rice came in Manila artificially. There must be a collusion between the private importer for NFA in Vietnam and Thailand vs. traders in Manila, including middlemen.
Thus Pres Duterte stepped in a ordered a 60-day stock for NFA rice, fired the NFA national manager, who authorized the private importation, and assigned the Dept of Trade to do the rice importation no longer the NFA , which are prone to grafty deals.
The provincial NFA is only the receiving end. It cannot buy from commercial sources at prices higher than P27 per kilo, so they hardly get a good buy. NFA must wait for the Thailand and Vietnam rice which is supplied by national NFA.
Negros Orieintal is 55% rice eaters and 45% corn eaters. Thus, no shortage can be felt since corn supply from Mindanao is steady too.
NegOr consumes 6400 bags of rice a day and a daily corn consumption of 4800 bags a day. Out of the 200,000 NFA bags allotted, 81,000 bags have yet arrived and another l5,000 bags is at port as we write.
An NFA outlet sells at P1500 per bag of NFA rice with a profit of P100 per sack. Each outlet is given 150 bags a week, and sold by a cluster of three retailers.
In sum, Ganzon said, NFA is mandated to supply the market only at 15% of the commercial consumption. It is not to compete with the commercial traders. NFA merely is a buffer in case there is a shortage. Buy more often than not, people buy more of NFA because of the cheap price at P32 per kilo in Dumaguete. All these information came from Hilaria Guanzon, NFA manager and Eddie Uy of Payalin ricer traders and importers.
Other rice traders are Marciano Kho, Ong Hok LIan, Eddie Paya Uy, Ang Gobonseng, and Bian Yek Commercial under Danford Sy, per NFA records.