NFA Urged to Buy Local Rice

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Ralph Recto, chair of the Senate committee on ways and means, said Sunday that he is studying the possible inclusion in the 2012 budget a special provision that would compel the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy rice produced locally.Such policy, he said, would lessen the country's dependence on rice imports and lessen the NFA's debts from ballooning further due to over-importation."Instead of buying rice from Thailand or Vietnam, the NFA should buy locally in order to make it profitable for our farmers to plant rice. The policy should be to buy locally, not importation," said Recto.Reportedly, the NFA has over P171 billion overdue this May attributed to over importation. He said initially, the NFA had not been allocated any budget for next year but was given a P2.5 billion allotment in the 2011 national budget.He said this fund should be used to purchase rice from local farmers to give them an incentive to plant more."Our farmers will then find ways to improve farming through the use of technology. …