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Rice and corn mix to be introduced by yearend

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rice palay corn
The mix will be introduced in Metro Manila, DA chief Emmanuel F. Piñol said.

THE National Food Authority (NFA) Council has agreed to introduce a rice and corn mix as staples in NFA outlets by the end of 2018.

“The NFA Council has approved the introduction of rice and corn mix as part of the staple that will be sold in NFA outlets…Hopefully by the end of this year, we will be able to introduce already rice and corn mix to NFA outlets,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol told reporters.

According to Mr. Piñol, the NFA Council is looking at an estimated 50,000 metric tons of non-genetically modified organism (GMO) white corn.

“The NFA and DA were directed to form a technical working group (TWG) that would draft a program on the rice and corn mix procurement, production and distribution,” Mr. Piñol said.

“It’s an additional 50,000 metric tons for our staple food supply,” he also said, adding that the food will be first introduced in markets in Metro Manila.

Mr. Piñol announced on Monday that an SRP will be implemented on rice in the last week of October, an action that shall be undertaken by the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the National Food Authority (NFA).

‘TEMPORARY MEASURE’
The imposition of a ceiling price on chicken and pork products is a good temporary measure to mitigate inflation, but the government should ensure reasonable returns to producers, according to a food and agribusiness professor on Tuesday.

University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) Center for Food and Agribusiness executive director and professor Rolando T. Dy told BusinessWorld that the imposition of a ceiling price is “probably okay as temporary measure, only as it is market intervention. Nevertheless, this needs consultation with players.”

Earlier, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said his department would sign a memorandum of agreement with DA to set a limit for the retail price of chicken, not going beyond P50. The same may also be imposed on pork, although this is still under discussion.

Mr. Dy said that in implementing such a measure, producers must be taken into consideration.

“Does the mark of P50 for chicken from farm to retail provide reasonable returns to producers? In the business, while farmgate is variable, retail price is not. It is sticky downwards,” Mr. Dy said.

The United Broiler Raisers Association (UBRA) said it supports the measure, with the hope this will curb inflation and iron out the pricing system of farmgate and retail outlets.

In a text message, UBRA President Elias Jose M. Inciong said, “We support this effort. We hope that this will address not only the current problem of inflationary pressures but also the systematic issue of the disconnect between farmgate and retail prices for all agri-fisheries products.”

Mr. Inciong added that “it will benefit all the stakeholders in the value chain including the retailers as it will reduce their working capital needs if they can buy chicken at lower prices.” — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio