The Philippines’ Food Security Agency said that it was looking to import 250,000 tonnes of rice as soon as possible via a government-to-government deal with any of its traditional suppliers such as Vietnam and Thailand. The volume will augment rice imports of around 543,000 tonnes shipped in by private traders between December and February, and help boost state buffer stock ahead of the country’s lean harvest season beginning in July, it said.
Philippines’ National Food Authority (NFA) has informed Vietnam of its import plan through a letter to its embassy in Manila. Leading rice producers and suppliers of Vietnam and Thailand are keeping an eye on any fresh demand from the Philippines which is one of the world’s biggest rice buyer. But NFA’s panel, comprising the country’s economic managers is still undecided about the timing of the issuance of tender for its import requirement and approval the terms of reference. The planned purchase is part of the 500,000-tonne import volume the NFA Council approved last year. The NFA had bought 150,000 tonnes from Vietnam and 100,000 tonnes from Thailand. The NFA spokeswoman Ms. Marietta Ablaza, who wouldn’t disclose if NFA has formally informed Thailand of its import plan, said, “We need the additional 250,000 tonnes for our buffer stock and we are fast running out of time.”