NFA welcomes return to DA

MANILA — The National Food Authority (NFA) has welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 62 returning the agency to the Department of Agriculture (DA) from the Office of the President.

EO 62, signed last Sept. 17, repealed EO 1 issued in 2016 that placed NFA, along with 11 other agencies, under the supervision of the Cabinet Secretary at the Office of the President.

“The President has delivered a strong message that food security is his primordial concern and he wants a more unified and realistic approach to agricultural development and food sufficiency programs for the country by putting together all agencies involved in these concerns,” it said in a news release issued Thursday.

The NFA said its return to DA will give the two agencies the ability to synchronize agricultural policies, such as the timing of rice importation and market intervention, as well as strengthen farmer assistance through NFA’s marketing channels, among others.

Meanwhile, the NFA assured the President and the people in areas affected by Typhoon Ompong that there is sufficient supply of rice for them.

It said NFA’s Operations Centers in these areas continue to operate 24/7 to monitor the situation and provide quick response to any need for rice by relief agencies and local government units.

NFA offices in the Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions, which were hardest hit by “Ompong”, are open daily and personnel are ready to render overtime work as needed.

On Sept. 24, NFA regional directors nationwide, including provincial managers in “Ompong”-affected areas, will report to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, the new NFA Council chairman, about the rice requirements in their respective areas to ensure that these requirements are effectively served.

More outlets of NFA rice will also be opened to provide greater access to the government’s low-priced quality rice sold at PHP27 and PHP32 per kg.

Recently, the NFA signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association, Inc. for the sale of NFA rice in selected supermarkets in the country.

There is also a possibility that the approved additional rice imports for NFA will be fast-tracked to arrive before December this year to ensure that there would be continuous supply of NFA rice in the markets, as commercial rice prices remain high. NFA/ PNA –