MANILA–After rejecting the extension of rice imports under the minimum access volume (MAV), the National Food Authority (NFA) is planning to import 800,000 metric tons (MT) of the staple food to cover the lean season.
NFA administrator Jason Laureano Aquino, in a press briefing, said the planned importation would include the 250,000 MT standby authority and another 550,000 MT of rice to cover domestic demand for July-September.
Last year, some 500,000 MT of rice was approved by the Food Security Committee following the El Niño phenomenon that hit the country but half of it was not utilized due to oversupply of the grains.
Aquino said by the end of June, the buffer stock will be short of three days that is why they are pushing for the 250,000 MT importation.
To cover the higher buffer stock requirements for the lean months they will also propose the importation of 550,000 MT of rice to the NFA council.
“[The farmers don’t sell their rice grains to NFA because other traders offer higher value.]”
NFA buy rice grains for only 17 pesos and other traders will offer farmers as high as 23 pesos which encourages the farmers to sell it to other traders, leaving the NFA with not enough supply.
When asked how many days will the buffer stock cover, Aquino said that we only have good to last for 13 days.
Aquino said that some regions and provinces already have very low inventory that they have to ask additional supplies from other regions. He said that it is very costly for them because they have to transport it.
“[If we import, it could be easily picked up. From foreign countries, the imports would go straight to ports near the provinces.]”