PH agri chief: No more rice imports by 2014

Rappler.com
The country will pursue its rice self-sufficiency goal and will no longer import the politically sensitive crop by 2014

NO IMPORTS. The Philippines aims to have no more rice imports by 2014. Photo by AFP

MANILA, Philippines – The country will pursue its rice self-sufficiency goal and will no longer import the politically sensitive crop by 2014.

This was announced by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala in a forum at the Ateneo de Manila on Thursday morning, March 14.

“We will achieve zero (rice) importation by 2014,” he said, adding that the country has significantly reduces its programmed importation for 2013.

The board of the National Food Authority (NFA), the sole state agency that imports rice, approved during a recent meeting the importation of 187,000 metric tons (MT) of rice to cover the buffer stock requirements for 2013, Alcala added.

The last of the imports will be through a government-to-government importation scheme. Prospective suppliers include Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia.

Target is to receive the shipment by June in time for the lean season. Bidding will be in April. “We just need it for buffer stock so there is no need to engage the private sector,” he said.

In 2012, the NFA allowed the importation of around 500,000 MT of rice. – Rappler.com