ILOILO CITY: National Food Authority (NFA) Iloilo Manager Erna Abello said they are importing 200,000 bags in preparation for the El Niño phenomenon which is expected to affect the province starting October this year to April of next year.
Abello said that the volume of import is part of the 250,000 metric tons (MT) of imported rice by the NFA for the whole country.
The province will be given allocation as it is forecast to be one of the hardest-hit areas by El Niño in the country.
However, she further said they are not yet sure on matter of the country which will be the source of rice imports, either Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, which the government has existing rice supply agreements with.
The NFA official said for now, Iloilo has a buffer stock that can last for 23 days or equivalent to 500,000 bags and that some farmers are already harvesting rice for first cropping, but still the importation is necessary to ensure enough rice supply with the looming long dry spell.