JULY 13, 2018-NFA TO SEEK APPROVAL FOR ADDITIONAL 1 MILLION MT RICE IMPORT
The National Food Authority (NFA) is set to propose to the NFA Council additional importation of 1 million metric ton s of rice to fill its buffer stocks until the early part of next year.
An NFA official said the agency has done drafting the proposal to import additional 500,000 MT of rice for this year, and another 500,000 MT of rice in the first few months of 2019. According to the NFA official, the proposal will soon be submitted to interagency Food Security Committee (FSC) on Rice before it will be presented to NFA Council, which is the highest policy-making body of the grains agency. But NFA Administrator Jason Aquino confirmed the plan. He said the rationale for this move is to avoid the same situation this year when the agency completely ran out of stocks, the first time it happened in many years. He said the proposal should be submitted on or before October. As for the mode of importation, he said he prefers it to be done through a government-to-government bidding “for faster transaction.”
The source explained that if the NFA won’t be allowed to import additional 500,000 MT this year, the agency’s inventory would only last for 2 to 3 days by the end of December. If it did get the approval, NFA will have a buffer stock of 18 to 20 days, which would be considered “safe”. Under the law, NFA is required to have at least 15-day buffer stock at any given time and 30-day buffer stock during lean season, which starts in July and ends in September. The NFA Council meeting happens every third week of the month but the source said the agency will have to face FSC first. Chaired by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), FSC members include NFA, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Department of Agriculture (DA), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and group of farmers.