Government and Trade sources were quoted as saying that Philippine would now import 500,000 MT of rice to fulfill its stockpiles after typhoon and lean harvest season hose delivery would start from March.
National Food Authority (NFA) , state grains procurement agency wants the shipment in two batches of 200,000 tonnes and one for 100,000 tonnes, to be completed by May, a government official with knowledge of the plan told Reuters.
A government official said that NFA would also import rice from Vietnam and Thailand under government-to-government deal.
Local farmers said that they hope NFA would provide them legal permits for planned purchase which are tariff free also. The demand for purchase of rice by Philippine would also upraise the falling rice prices in major rice producing nations like Vietnam and Thailand.
Under the government’s Minimum Access Volume – Omnibus Rice Importation program, private rice traders are allowed to import maximum 187,000 tonnes of rice at maximum tariff of 35%.Philippine usually purchase rice at the year starting to prepare itself at the lean harvest season.
Despite of better production in Philippine last year, Philippine still is the world’s largest rice buyer of the world.
The Philippines bought more than 1.8 million tonnes from Vietnam and Thailand after Super Typhoon Haiyan destroyed crops in November 2013, prompting the government to release supplies from state stockpiles for relief operations and to arrest the sharp increase in local retail prices.
Last year’s rice purchases by the Philippines were the biggest in the last four years. This year’s imports may hit 1.6 million tonnes, based on a forecast by the United States Department of Agriculture.
The government official said, however, that this year’s imports may be less than 1 million tonnes as local retail prices have eased from the record highs seen at mid-2014.
Secretary Francis Pangilinan, the country’s food security chief and chairman of the NFA Council would give no detail on any rice import plans and said that the media should “wait for the official announcement.”