NFA to import 250,000 MT of rice


The National Food Authority (NFA) is set to import 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice this year to replenish the agency’s dwindling stockpile due to weather disturbances that hit the country last year.

NFA spokesperson Rebecca Olarte told reporters that the agency requested to import rice as early as November to augment its own supply.

“The NFA Council gave us a standby authority to import 250,0000 MT of rice, but this would still go through the food security committee to specify the volume and the mode of procurement,” she said.

The agency is expecting the approval of the rice importation within the month, with the shipments arriving within the second quarter of the year or during the harvest season.

As of last week, data showed that NFA’s buffer stock could meet the country’s national requirement for only three days, way below the mandated stock requirement by its council of 15 days.

However, Olarte clarified that while the agency’s supply was currently low, the country’s total national rice inventory, including those of households and commercial stocks, could fill the Filipinos’ rice requirement for 92 days.

“We have more than enough supply so there is no need to worry. We have a very stable supply and price right now so the imports would not affect the prices of rice and palay,” she said.

Olarte added that the rice imports would remain in the agency’s storage and would not be released to the market. NFA’s buffer stock is used mainly to supply rice in areas affected by calamity or war.

NFA’s last importation was in July last year wherein it spent some P5 billion to import 250,000 MT of rice during the lean months when rice harvests were low.

This was done through a government-to-private scheme (G2P), which, according to then-Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, was “more competitive, least corrupt and transparent.”

Under the G2P scheme, the lowest bidder would be named the country’s supplier.


Readers choice: TOP-5 articles of the month by UkrAgroConsult