Press Release
July 28, 2010


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today called on the Department of Agriculture to improve the country's production and post-harvest facilities and address the issue of imbalanced rice importation, reiterating one of the President's key points during the SONA.

"Now more than ever, the DA and the NFA will have to look closely into food supply issues of the country, especially that we have four million families who have no access to food," said Angara, former Agriculture Secretary.

Following the investigation on the National Food Authority's alleged excessive importation of rice that resulted to the reported spoilage of undistributed rice in the country, Angara said, "we can keep rice importation to a minimum if we boost local rice production. To do this, government must give support to our farmers, such as providing them financial support and post-harvest facilities to maximize production."

President Aquino reported that the NFA imported P100 Million worth of rice despite sufficient supply in the country, plunging government deeper in debt. Angara also alluded to his warning 10 years ago that "the NFA would be face a similar fate of the Napocor."

But Angara was also cautious of media speculations that the NFA be abolished. Instead he cited a study of the Asian Development Bank, saying, "you don't have to abolish it. You maintain its price support action. But there must be a re-organization. They don't have to go into milling, buying, importing and selling. There has to be a better dynamics to distribute rice especially to the millions in the country with no proper access to food supply."

Apart from having authored the country's Agro-Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) law, Angara has also proposed that the government provide support to the DA in acquiring better post-harvest facilities and new technologies on farming to preserve the country's agricultural supply.

Earlier this week the NFA has been scrutinized for allegations of overstocked warehouses, P177 billion debts since June 30, rice wastage, inability to provide assistance to farmers, anomalies in rice importation, local purchase, contracting of services and selling. Angara encouraged the DA to study the NFA's inventory system in order to prevent stocks wastage and spoilage and come up with an efficient procurement and distribution.

"Addressing and investigating the issues facing the NFA now is just the first step. Over the long run, we will also need to provide better facilities and support to our farmers so we can sustain production," he said.

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