NFA mulls importation of another 250k MT of rice in November


After securing 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice imports from Thailand and Vietnam earlier this month, the National Food Authority is now mulling to tap the half of its standby authority to secure country’s grains requirement in the first few months of 2017.

NFA Officer in Charge Tomas Escarez said the NFA Council will meet today (Tuesday) to evaluate whether the government has to buy another 250,000 MT of rice abroad right away.

“We already imported 250,000 MT but then we think more is needed because between January to February are lean months. So we recommended to the council based on the standby authority of 500,000 MT, even if we already imported 250,000 MT, we are allowed to import another 250,000 MT. We are just awaiting the instruction of the nfa council,” Escarez told reporters.

“We plan to have the G2G [government-to-government] earlier but its really up to the council but most probably the importation would happen around November. Most likely we will be allowed to import before December because it takes how many days to take the procurement process,” he further said.

Lean season in the Philippines usually starts in July and ends in September but with the threats of La Niña, more imports must be tapped immediately.

While assuring the public that there is more than enough stocks for now, Escarez said the country must prepare for La Niña.

Forecasted to hit the country this year, La Niña is a weather phenomenon expected to bring heavy rains in most parts of the country.

In September 1, NFA awarded the import contracts, covering 250,000 MT of 25-percent broken well-milled rice at $424.5 per MT, to Thailand and Vietnam.

The NFA noted that the price was 0.15 percent lower than the reference price of $425 per MT.

Escarez said earlier that 40 percent of the rice shipment is expected to be delivered by the end of this month, while the remaining 60 percent will reach the country by the end of October.

“This will give NFA sufficient lead time to preposition the stocks nationwide in time for the season of tropical storms and typhoons which usually occur during the end of the third quarter until the fourth quarter,” Escarez said then.

NFA Council earlier allowed the government to tap 500,000 MT of rice import as “standby authority” to fill an estimated gap of five percent of the national production as the result of the El Niño phenomenon.


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