Press Release
June 2, 2008


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today urged Malacañang and the National Food Authority to increase the NFA rice allocation for Mindanao and to put up more outlets, specially in provinces that do not produce enough rice for their consumption.

Pimentel proposed that the local government units, including the Barangays, should be tapped in the distribution of the NFA rice because the local officials know well the areas where there is short or no supply of this subsidized commodity which is badly-needed by the poor families.

"Mindanao may be regularly receiving its allocation of NFA rice. But there are problems in the distribution. That is the information that is reaching my office. The NFA authorities should take immediate steps to remedy the situation," he said.

Pimentel said Mindanao used to produce sufficient quantities of rice to meet the needs of its people and even to supply to other regions of the country.

However, he said that farmers in many areas of the island have stopped planting rice and shifted to other cash crops due to lack of incentives from the government like support services and farm inputs.

Pimentel said Mindanao even earned the tag "food basket" of the country, what with its vast and fertile agricultural lands, with good irrigation and virtually free from typhoon. However, due to the government's half-hearted rice production policy and the emphasis on rice importation, the whole island is in danger of being a "basket case."

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