NFA rice dealers switch to commercial rice amidst supply shortage

SOME local National Food Authority (NFA) rice retailers in Cagayan de Oro has switched to selling commercial rice as the stocks of the government-subsidized rice continue to dwindle.

A rice dealer in Cogon Market who declined to be named said she now only sells commercial rice after her stocks of NFA rice ran out last Sunday, April 8.

"Priority namo ang NFA. Salikway namo ang commercial og naay NFA pero karon wala na gayud. Zero na daw diha sa ilahang bodega (Selling NFA rice is our priority. We lay off from selling commercial rice whenever we have NFA rice but now we ran out. They said there's zero stocks in the warehouse)," Lizel said.

A predominantly NFA rice retailer, she said she now has fewer customers as she now has to compete with other commercial rice retailers.

"Daghan gapamaligya og commercial samtang kami namaligya og NFA, unom ra mi kabuok kompara sa commercial. Mas daghan gabaligya og commercial. Mao nang ako, nagbaligya ko aning commercial mao nang minus (There are more commercial rice retailers and there are only six of us here selling NFA rice. So now that I'm selling commercial rice, we only got few customers)," Lizel said.

In Carmen Public Market, another NFA rice retailer has also opted to sell commercial rice to keep the business going.

The owner of a an NFA rice outlet in Carmen Public Market said he switched to selling commercial rice to prevent the stall from closing after their supply of NFA rice ran out on Tuesday, April 10.

"Karon lang nag additional mi og commercial kay unsa ma'y among i-display nga wala nay NFA. Unsa na lang ang stall (We just added commercial rice because we have nothing to display since our supply of NFA ran out. What will happen to the stall if we have nothing to sell)," he said.

Although some has shifted to commercial rice, there are still some rice dealers who still have a number of sacks of NFA rice to last them for a few days.

The price per kilo of NFA rice has also rose from P27 to P32 due to the decline in supply.

A cashier in a rice and cellophane stall in Cogon Public Market, said they still have 27 sacks of NFA rice which she estimated to last for two days.

"Actually limit gyud mi ana kay gamay na lang mi og stocks so galimit mo og tag-5 kilos (we limit the purchase of NFA rice to 5 kilos since we only have few stocks available)," she said.

She added that once their remaining sacks of NFA rice sold out, they will not turn to commercial rice like the others but instead continue with their business by only selling cellophanes.

"Lisod kaayo nga wala nay NFA kay momingaw na ang among tindahan kay ang bibo gyud sa amoa kay NFA ra gyud kay ang cellophane namo mahal-mahal pud biya, (It will be hard for us once there's no more NFA rice for it is what made our business boom since our cellophanes can be expensive)," she said.

The shortage of NFA rice supply has not only affected rice retailers into switching to commercial rice but also forced others to close their store.

In Cogon Public Market, a male commercial rice retailer mentioned that some sellers of NFA rice in the area had opted to close their stores as their supply already ran out.

Last Friday, April 6, NFA-Northern Mindanao announced that the supply for the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Bukidnon was already empty, while Camiguin has only about 6,000 bags which may only last for few weeks.

NFA-Northern Mindanao Chief Fernando Nuñez added that stocks for Cagayan de Oro had also ran out as they prioritize to serve and comply the requirements for the Department of Social Welfare and Development for April.