Philippines. Rice import tender slated Aug. 31


The Philippines, one of the world’s top rice buyers, is seeking to import up to 250,000 tons of rice from Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia in a tender scheduled on Aug. 31, according to a copy of a government document seen by Reuters.

The volume is part of the government’s plan to import up to 1 million tons of rice to secure supply through next year while prices are low in top exporters Vietnam and Thailand.

The imports would also boost the Southeast Asian nation’s buffer stock ahead of the typhoon season towards the end of the year.

Despite the upcoming tender, benchmark rice prices in Vietnam and Thailand remained near multi-month lows.

The National Food Authority is looking to buy 25 percent broken rice, with delivery of the first 100,000 tons expected not later than Sept. 30 and the remaining amount not later than Oct. 31, according to the document.

Of the planned 1 million tons of rice to be imported, 750,000 tons will be purchased via government-to-government deals, while the remaining amount will be shipped in by private companies, Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said last week.

The Philippines expects its paddy rice output to reach 18.135 million tons in 2016, flat from last year, following crop losses in the first half due to the El Niño-induced drought.

During a congressional hearing tackling the Department of Agriculture’s 2017 budget, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on Thursday reiterated his target to make the country self-sufficient in rice production by 2019.

“We don’t know when the next El Niño will hit us, we don’t know when the next La Nina will hit us. We cannot continue relying on imported rice,” Piñol told lawmakers.

“We will focus on boosting rice production and increasing the income of our farmers. We will provide free irrigation to our farmers, like those in Vietnam and Thailand.”

The Philippines imported around 1.8 million tonnes of rice in 2015, below a record volume of 2.45 million tons in 2010.



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