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DA, NFA launch campaign against rice hoarders

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority (NFA) on Saturday launched a joint campaign against rice hoarding, in a bid to help ease the country’s rice supply woes.

The “Report a Hoarder” campaign offers a PHP250,000-reward to "citizens who could provide information that would result in arrest of rice hoarders," Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in this Facebook post on Sept. 1.

"In launching the campaign, DA and NFA expect traders to release their stocks and stabilize prices,” Piñol’s Facebook post said.

"Identity of informants will be held in strict confidentiality,” he added.

Piñol, meanwhile, noted that rice industry stakeholders are supporting the “Report a Hoarder” campaign, which seeks to bring to justice the traders manipulating supply and price of rice, a staple food in the country.

"The reward money will be provided by private millers and traders who said activities of hoarders affect their business," he said.

According to Piñol, the DA-NFA anti-hoarding team discovered stacks of premium white and glutinous rice in at least five warehouses within Bulacan province's Marilao municipality.

He said NFA will verify if the owners of the rice are amassing such stocks, saying holding on to the stocks is hoarding, which is punishable with fines and imprisonment.

NFA administrator Jason Aquino, meanwhile, in a press release on Aug. 30, said they have “stepped up our monitoring activities to protect our consumers against businessmen who may take advantage of the situation.”

"We are also monitoring its accredited retailers to ensure that the selling of rice is at government-prescribed prices," Aquino said in the statement.

NFA sells its regular and well-milled rice at PHP27 per kilogram (kg) and PHP32 per kg, respectively.

The agency has earlier vowed to intensify its rice distribution activities to make the grain increasingly available to consumers.

The NFA reported having 15,892 accredited retail outlets selling NFA rice around the country.

Those who have information could contact the DA through these numbers:

(02) 920-9117 - Office of the Secretary, DA

0928-611-5555 - DZRH Textline

(02) 8326166; 8326167; 8326117 - DZRH (PR)




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