Gov't mulling options for rice surplus

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2010 03:59 PM | Updated as of Aug 01 2010 11:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines -  The government is studying how to deal with the excess supply of rice filling up the  warehouses of the National Food Authority (NFA) , President Benigno Aquino III said on Sunday.

There are clamors for the NFA to distribute the rice surplus to the poorest areas nationwide, with some of the stocks allegedly already rotting. 

But Aquino said the Cabinet, particularly representatives of the Department of Budget and Management and the  NFA, will have to study several issues first before distributing the rice stocks.

Aquino  said there  are many requirements and processes that  have to be followed.

"Gusto nating gumawa ng maganda, pero kung hindi tama ang proseso, may kasalanan pa rin tayo dyan."

While Aquino assured that the rice held  in NFA warehouses won't be allowed to further rot, he said the government needs to weigh in the interests of other parties that will be affected by plans to give out the stocks.

He said rice farmers will suffer as prices of unhusked rice or palay will be depressed.

"Kung ibebenta naman ng mas mura o ipamimigay, may epekto rin yan sa presyo ng bigas na ibebenta ng ating mga magsasaka."

Aquino said that because of existing oversupply of the commodity, the NFA's sales have slowed down.

Previously, NFA Administrator Angelito Banayo had said that the agency has about 57 days of buffer stock, while households have 25 days worth of stocks, and the industry or private sector has reserves of 28 to 30 days.

"Pinag-aaralan natin kung pano mapapag-meet lahat ng conflicting desires, pero minimum sigurado po yan, hindi natin pababayaan na mabubulok ang mga bigas," said Aquino.