Supermarkets in Bohol, which are mostly owned by only two groups of companies, are not allowed to sell rice from the National Food Authority, said an NFA official amid a proposal to sell the subsidized rice varieties in major food retail stores in the province.
According to NFA-Bohol information officer Joel Lim, major supermarkets in the province, owned by the BQ Mall Corp. and Alturas Group of Companies, and also Shoppers Mart are not eligible for NFA retailer accreditation as their owners are engaged in rice milling.
“Sa assessment man gud diri sa Bohol, ang atong dagkong supermarkets diri dili nato sila ma-accredit nga makabaligya og NFA rice because mga rice millers man gud ni sila at the same time, di ni siya puwede sa atoang Grains Standardization Rules and Regulations,” said Lim.
The proposal to sell NFA rice at supermarkets was raised during the Provincial Price Monitoring Council meeting led by Gov. Edgar Chatto and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 regional director Aster Caberte on Monday.
Lim admitted that although Bohol’s major supermarkets are not allowed to sell NFA rice, the measure would have been favorable to some consumers.
“It is very good intention nga maka-provide ta og comfort sa atong mga katawhan nga makapalit og NFA rice sa atoang mga supermarkets or departments stores,” he said.
Meanwhile, a DTI order is still being awaited by the NFA to determine whether or not the latter will give accreditation to smaller retailers and commercial traders.
“Pero kani sa mga ginagmay natong mga tindahan, tan-awon nato kung naa ba tay mahatag nga accreditation base sa instruction sa DTI,” said Lim. “That is something nga atong paabuton kadtong guidelines nga ipagawas sa DTI.”
In Cebu, consumers can purchase NFA rice at supermarkets for the first time after a tie-up was sealed by the DTI and the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarket Association through a memorandum of agreement.
Earlier this week, a total of 32,000 sacks of NFA rice were delivered to Bohol.
The NFA has 258 accredited retailers in the entire province.
“Broken rice” varieties are sold at P32 per kilo in some of Bohol’s towns. (R. Tutas)