PH plans to import 250,000 tons rice for delivery within Q3


The Philippines, one of the world’s biggest rice importers, plans to buy 250,000 tons of the food staple from either Vietnam, Thailand or Cambodia, as it seeks to maintain a comfortable reserve ahead of the typhoon season.

The chairman of the National Food Authority (NFA) Council, Leoncio Evasco, has endorsed the purchase plan to President Rodrigo Duterte for final approval, Angel Imperial, spokesman of the state grains procurement agency NFA told Reuters.

It will be the first rice import deal for the six-week-old administration, which has vowed to make the Philippines self sufficient in rice production within its six-year term.

Fresh purchases by the Philippines, which is returning to the market for the first time in more than six months, could underpin Asian rice export prices, which have fallen in recent weeks amid low demand.

Imperial said the imports will boost NFA’s buffer stocks during the current lean harvest season that began in July. Thailand is entering the typhoon season, which can disrupt production.

NFA’s stocks were good for 25 days of national demand as of July 31, Imperial said, below the 30-day minimum requirement during the lean season.

A government source said the imports will be undertaken via a government-to-government deal, with rice suppliers Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia qualified to make an offer, and delivery expected to be completed within the third quarter.

“Reserves level (at NFA’s warehouses) remains ample but this quarter is seasonally lean months. Farmers are (still) planting,” the source said.

Overall rice stocks in the Philippines this year have been bolstered by a series of purchases by the previous administration made to offset crop losses from the El Nino dry weather phenomenon that ended recently.

Those imports include some 500,000 tons the NFA bought from Vietnam and Thailand last year and which arrived in the first quarter.


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