NFA OKs up to 500,000 MT rice imports as buffer stock (Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines – The National Food Authority (NFA) has approved the importation through government-to-government procurement scheme of an additional 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice that would be used as buffer stock during the lean months beginning in July.

Also approved on standby is the importation of another 250,000 MT that would be used in the event that domestic production suffers significant loses due to the effect of the prevailing dry spell. The Food Security Committee would evaluate the supply situation and make a recommendation to the NFA.

The Food Security Committee is chaired by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), with members composed of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Finance (DOF), Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomic Services Administration (Pagasa), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Department of Agriculture (DA), and the National Food Authority.

The governments of Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia will be invited to participate in the government-to-government procurement scheme as these countries have existing procurement agreements with the Philippine government.

The Philippines would be procuring rice of the 25 percent brokens variety.

The Philippines awarded in February the supply contract for a total of 500,000 MT of rice to Vietnam and Thailand that was expected to arrive between March and April.

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The prevailing dry spell is expected to affect domestic palay (unhusked rice) production as plantings have been delayed.

The DA has already revised this year’s palay production target to 19.02 million MT from the original target of 20 million MT.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that palay production in the second quarter of the year is expected to fall 4.21 percent to 3.90 million MT. Harvest area may contract from 939,000 hectares to 918,000 hectares. Yield per hectare may drop to 4.25 MT from 4.34 MT per hectare in 2014.