DA chief orders probe on alleged improper NFA rice sale

By Stephanie Sevillano

February 27, 2024, 7:50 pm

<p>National Food Authority rice stocks.<em> (File photo courtesy of NFA) </em></p>

National Food Authority rice stocks. (File photo courtesy of NFA) 

MANILA – Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. ordered Tuesday an investigation in the alleged “improper” sale of National Food Authority (NFA) rice.

In a news release, Laurel said the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) panel of investigators has been tasked to verify reports that certain NFA officials have “authorized” the sale of milled rice without bidding.

"We do not brush aside reports of impropriety against officials of the Department of Agriculture, regardless of the source,” he said.

Laurel also urged other agencies to look at the matter, adding that the allegation involved the selling of “thousands of tons of rice” at a “disadvantageous” price.

“We also welcome any government agency who may wish to conduct their own probe to ferret out the truth,” he said.

“We are custodians of government funds, monies to be spent for the benefit of Filipinos, especially farmers and fisherfolk. Taxpayers' money shouldn't be squandered to line anybody’s pockets," he added.

According to the DA, initial reports claimed that the palay (unhusked rice) in question, bought by the NFA at PHP23 per kilogram (kg), were milled then sold at PHP25/kg without proper bidding. (PNA)