To address the prevailing crisis, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos has joined the abolition of the National Food Authority (NFA) and a controlled importation of rice.
The lady governor favors controlled rice importations for a fixed period until harvests from farmers are brought into the market to beef up supply. “Dapat kontrolin ang imports para matiyak na walang anomalya at para hindi madehado ang local farmers”, she said.
“Perhaps it’s time to abolish the NFA at isama na rin ang NIA (National Irrigation Admnistration) na Itinatag ng ama ko pero hindi naman nila nagagampanan ang purpose nila“, Ms. Marcos said. Both agencies were created during the time of her late father, former President Ferdinand Marcos.
The NFA has been blamed for the lack of cheap rice and was under heavy criticisms from different sectors following a sharp rise in prices of the commercial variety believed to have been manipulated by unscrupulous traders and hoarders.
Gov. Marcos proposed that NFA funds for the purchase of palay be directed instead to Local Government Units who will in turn buy palay from farmers, a setup she believes could be highly effective as elected officials’ concern for their farmer-constituents will be high.
However, she also believes that since NFA was created by her father’s Presidential Decree No. 4 in 1972, only a law passed by Congress can abolish it. Solons and senators have joined the outcry against the agency following recent reports of long queues to buy cheap rice in many provinces.
She also urged the Department of Trade and Industry to revive the Kadiwa stores that became popular during her father’s administration where miracle or super rice and other basic commodities can be bought at a much lower price.
She urged the government to refocus its investments to enhance farmers’ productivity through mechanization and other effectual agricultural methods successfully adopted by developed countries.
Investing in farmers, Gov. Marcos said, will translate to affordable food for citizens. “Kung gusto natin ng murang pagkain, ang magsasaka ang dapat na unang suportahan at pangalagaan”.