The National Food Authority (NFA) has warned unscrupulous rice merchants mixing government rice with commercial ones and selling these adulterated mixture at commercial rates.
There are thousands of rice outlets including sari-sari stores in the city's 98 barangays and some of them sell government rice without any authority from the NFA.
NFA Provincial Director Gaudencio Nuega Jr said the agency has granted licenses to only 300 rice traders in the city to sell government rice.
While a kilo of NFA rice used to cost P28 last year, nowadays the price tag of government rice is P32 per kilo.
Commercial rice sells at P38 up to P45 per kilo depending on the sources of origin, whether they come from Iloilo, Cagayan, Pagadian or Cotabato or any other rice-producing region in Mindanao.
Nuega warned traders that they could face administrative charges or their licenses could be cancelled if caught selling adulterated rice.
The proportion in the mixture of government rice and commercial rice vary with merchants, but sources say traders adopt at least a 1-3 ratio or even 1-5 ratio or one kilo of commercial rice to three kilos of government rice and one kilo of commercial rice to five kilos of commercial rice, respectively.
In cases where the government rice looks clean and white, especially if these were imported from Vietnam or Cambodia, the merchants simply re-bag these government rice into commercially branded rice bags.
Incidentally, most bags sold in the market containing charcoal processed from coconut shells coming from the provinces are packed in hundreds of NFA bags.