I was chatting with one of my friends who works at PhilRice last week during one of my idler-than-usual days. For lack of a better topic I asked him to fill me in on the rice shortage crisis that has had it's share of prime air time in tv and radio shows recently.
He told me it's not true.
We have sufficient buffer supply even if harvests are low this season.
He said that the issue was blown out of proportion. Dealers were suspected of hoarding supply resulting to fewer rice supply reaching the market. He also mentioned that the government might have had a hand in blowing the issue sky high to cover other issues that are... well, rather awkward for the administration (of which, there are many... *sigh*).
Could this possibly be true?
Fast forward the story to one week after our chat. Last night.
I guess this is another cab story because I was on a cab on my way home when I caught this on the news. (Maybe I should just call my blog "Tales from the Not-Always-Yellow Cab").
Sacks of rice are rotting in barns in Nueva Ecija. The farmers claim that rice traders are not buying from them anymore because the rice millers are also not buying because when they get a large supply of rice, they might get accused of rice hoarding by the NBI and have their stock rooms raided.
The farmers are also claiming that it's not true that NFA is buying their rice at P17 per kilo (??? - I'm not sure about the unit of measurement... I just know it's P17 per something). NFA is not buying their rice grains at all.
As my ride was about to end, it was mentioned that NFA was ordered to buy the rice from the farmers in Nueva Ecija, but at P14 per kilo.
So does this mean rice prices are not going up?