During the initial days of the new administration, many were shocked (sic) on how voluminous the past government imported rice from other Asian countries. The issue was heightened when some National Food Authority (NFA) warehouses were found with rotting stockpiles of the commodity.
They even resorted to badmouthing the Arroyo people and exposed whatever to the media and the many of us were amused, some with varied reactions. After that, we were truly convinced and opined, maybe they are really for a real change, after all.
But now the NFA came out with the news breaker that as early as the 6th of December, they will come up with the rice import plans for the coming year.
Happy importers and traders of course are beaming with uncontrolled smile and laughter from ear to ear. (Same old, same old!) They are the direct beneficiaries of good fortune and business dole out from the administration. Compared to previous years, the NFA pronounced there will be increased tariff-free import allowance for them. More mana from heaven than the Arroyo time.
These traders handled importation of about .245 million tons or 10 percent of the total rice import for 2010. So now, they will handle over and above that volume next year. If the plan become favorable of handling down more to the lucky importers, it may even exceed fifty percent of the volume.
This is due the fact the government deep in financial unwellness will delegate the task and rely on the private sector (businessmen) all the more. (Sounds like more of the PPP, only that investments can be recouped in a shorter time.)
The NFA traditionally imports directly about 2.205 million tons, usually from (this link leads to a post more about rice ) Vietnam, among other ASEAN countries.
The bankrupt agency, if we can call it that way, is deeply indebted to the tune of P100 billion. It assumes the government’s role of cushioning the effects of price movement of the staple commodity in the market.
With the reversal and delegation of traditional roles, the general population will be totally under the mercy of these importers. And when rice change hands from importers to middlemen, etc, what can control the price of rice on the local market?
Poor Bicolanos will have to further tighten the belt in the coming year just to buy a kilo of rice!
We will just content our selves of throwing an envious look on our south east Asian neighbors like Vietnam and Thailand who made great strides in their agricultural and economic advancement.
The Filipinos will have to continue that dream of winning the lottery and the illegal numbers game of jueteng. It is a palliative and benumbing pill for many dreamers among us.