• NFA to allow traders to import 805,200 MT rice

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    MANILA is tapping the private sector for the importation of additional rice stocks after the National Food Authority (NFA) failed to acquire its projected rice reaquirement for the lean season.

    This developed after Friday’s government-to-government tender was undersubscribed when the NFA received only Vietnam’s offer to supply 150,000 MT of rice, short of the 250,000 MT rice procurement target.

    Joseph dela Cruz, NFA deputy administrator for Marketing Operations, said they are ready to allow traders to bring in about 805,200 metric tons of rice through the so-called minimum access volume (MAV).

    “The private sector importation will come as the next importation activity. The government is ahead in importing because we need to have the stocks before July 1 for the lean month period,” dela Cruz told reporters.

    The NFA official said that they expect to open applications for MAV anytime this month, adding that they would require traders to deliver the grains from September to October.

    MAV refers to the minimum volume of farm produce allowed to enter the Philippines at a reduced tariff of 35 percent, while shipments outside MAV pay higher rates of 50 percent and would need approval by the NFA.

    Of the total rice imports under MAV, some 755,000 MT will be country-specific- quota (with Vietnam and Thailand getting the bulk), while the remaining 50,000 MT will be omnibus volume.

    Dela Cruz said the NFA Council is considering placing the remaining balance of 100,000 MT under MAV importation. It may also conduct another G2G and an open [international]bidding to fill up its buffer stocks.

    “It is the NFA Council that decides on the mode of procurement. It depends since international tenders may take a longer duration before delivery, while G2G is less than a month,” he said.

    A G2G transaction requires an existing executive agreement for a country to participate in the rice tender. At present, only three countries – Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia – have existing rice purchase agreements with Manila.

    An open tender, on the other hand, would allow as many foreign private entities outside the Philippines’ current bilateral agreement to bid for the supply of Manila’s rice requirement.

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