AGRICULTURE Secretary Manny Piñol wants to put an end to the long-time practice of mislabeling and overpricing rice in public markets and even supermarkets.
Piñol called on the National Food Authority (NFA) Council, which is under the Department of Agriculture along with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority (FPA), to set guidelines on the proper identification of imported rice and local rice in the market to protect consumers.
Commercial rice that are given common names such as “Sinandomeng”, “Angelica”, “Jasmine”, and “Dinorado” are being sold in the market at prices as high as PhP55 to PhP60 per kilo. However, the Agriculture chief revealed that apart from Dinorado and Jasmine, there is no such thing as Sinandomeng or Angelica rice variety.
And even worse, Piñol said the Dinorado and Jasmine being sold in the market are not the real varieties. In plain and simple words, consumers are openly being cheated by money-hungry retailers who are apparently guilty of deception and unfair trade practice. Can you imagine the length of time we have all been fooled by these unscrupulous retailers?
In order to prevent those traders from continually abusing consumers, the Agriculture secretary will submit to the NFA Council a proposal that from now on, rice sold in the market should be labeled as regular milled rice, well-milled rice, long grain head rice, and special rice that will include heirloom and organic rice. He will also ask the Council to issue guidelines on the proper identification of imported and local rice.
And to teach some hard-headed businessmen a lesson, he recommends that NFA licenses of traders and retailers who violate the guidelines be cancelled.
Among Piñol’s plans is the introduction of the rice-corn mix staple in NFA outlets and the procurement by NFA of white corn grits or white corn grains. The NFA will also begin buying operations of locally produced paddy rice at P17 per kilo plus additional incentives valued at PhP3 per kilo. The Department of Agriculture (DA) will also install drying facilities in NFA buying stations to be used for free by farmers who will be selling their produce to the NFA.
Firing Line is in full support of the efforts being exerted by the DA to improve the rice industry and protect consumers from being abused by greedy businessmen.
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