• Bidding for 2014 rice imports set next month

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    The National Food Authority (NFA) Council has approved the importation of 800,000 metric tons (MT) of rice this year to boost government buffer stocks and ease inflation.

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    In a telephone interview, NFA spokesman Rex Estoperez said the agency will conduct an open bidding on April 15 for the supply of Manila’s rice requirement.

    An open tender will allow as many foreign private entities outside the current bilateral agreement to bid for the supply of Manila’s rice requirement.

    “The bidding will be omnibus, or open to all qualified private and government-backed rice suppliers,” Estoperez said.

    The rice stocks specified under the terms of the tender were long-grain white rice with 15 percent broken and well milled, he
    said.

    He added that the winning bidder/s must deliver the rice in four tranches, or 25 percent of the total volume for each shipment from April to August.

    Economic managers have been pushing for the importation since the early part of the year to arrest the rising prices of the commodity and prevent a possible shortage.

    Manila, the former world’s biggest rice importer, has allowed importation of a record 2.4 million MT of rice, but this was reduced to 860,000 MT in 2011. This was further trimmed down to 500,000 MT in 2012.

    In 2013, Manila approved 205,700 MT of rice imports under the omnibus minimum access volume for rice, plus 500,000 MT of rice from Vietnam. The additional volume of rice was meant to replenish the country’s buffer stock following continuous drawdowns for Super Typhoon Yolanda relief operations.

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