MORE imported rice will soon be available to Filipino consumers following the successful bidding for the supply of 500,000-metric tons of rice from abroad.
This was disclosed by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol who said that the latest procurement of imported rice brought to 547,000 metric tons the total volume of rice stocks of National Food Authority (NFA), which will be available on the market until next year.
Piñol explained that the procurement of imported rice is in compliance with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to “fill the government’s warehouse to the roof” with rice stocks to prevent a repeat of the recent artificial “rice hostage.”
He also disclosed that another 203,000-metric tons will be bid out this week on a government-to-government procurement scheme.
“Should the bidding succeed, the NFA will have a total of 750,000 metric tons of government-subsidized rice which will be sold in the market at P27 to P32,” Piñol said.
According to Piñol, five private companies were awarded the contract to supply the rice after they submitted bids lower than the government reference price of $470 per metric ton.
The winning bidders were: Thai Capital Crops Co. Ltd, Myanmar’s Shwe Wah Yaung Agriculture Production Co., Singapore’s Olam International Ltd, Thailand’s Asia Golden Rice Co Ltd, and Vietnam’s Tan Long Group Joint Stock Co.
He added that the suppliers will be asked to deliver the rice stocks to the different regions of the country starting December up to early January.
“The successful bidding assured the country of sufficient buffer stocks even with the estimated 480,000 metric tons of local rice production lost due to the successive typhoons which hit the northern part of the country over the last three months,” Piñol said.
He further explained that the efficient and transparent bidding of the NFA rice supplies assures the consumers the recent “rice price crisis” resulting from depleted NFA rice stocks will not be repeated.
Piñol claimed that earlier this year, NFA rice supplies disappeared from the market after a dispute between the former NFA Administrator and the NFA Council over the mode of importation to be used in buying rice.
“The NFA uses two procurement modes -- Government to Private and Government to Government. In my first meeting with the NFA Council after the agency was returned back to the DA, I told the Council members that the order of President Duterte was to bring in the rice supplies fast in whatever manner. I am glad that the NFA Council responded positively,” he added.