NFA set to import 250,000 MT of rice

13.02.2018

The National Food Authority (NFA) Council yesterday approved the importation of 250,000 metric tons of rice to replenish the NFA buffer stock that is used in part to help stabilize rice prices, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr said.

Evasco, chair of the NFA Council, said the council met yesterday morning and approved the rice importation, mainly from Vietnam and Thailand.

“The standby authority to import 250,000 metric tons is approved considering the importation should arrive after the harvest or the first week of June,” Evasco said in a press conference.

“We assure the public there is no rice shortage. This importation is for the NFA’s buffer stock,” he added.

The NFA Council, with representatives from agencies like Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the National Economic Development Authority and the Department of Finance, must approve all plans to import rice.

Evasco also noted that President Duterte had given a verbal order approving the importation of the 250,000 metric tons of rice.

To ensure that the importation process will be “more inclusive and transparent,” Evasco said the mode of importation would be “government to private importation or open tender procurement.”

NFA management earlier asked that it be allowed to use its standby authority to import 250,000 metric tons of rice as its buffer stock of rice was down to only 64,000 metric tons, or good only for two days, when the agency is required to maintain 15 days worth of rice supply at any given time.

“We’ll be expecting El Niño. We’ll be expecting typhoons to come but the stock is down when the Ledac (Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council) issued a resolution that the buffer stock should be 15 days during harvest and 30 days during low season,” he said.

Evasco said the country had no rice shortage, as 3.8 million metrics ton of rice or equivalent to 121 days of rice supply were available.

He added that the NFA council also discussed hiking the NFA’s buying price of P17 per kilo for clean and dry palay but the BSP, NEDA Board, and the DOF objected as this would be inflationary, or would cause prices of basic commodities to increase.


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