MANILA, Philippines – The government is opening the minimum access volume (MAV) rice importation scheme to the private sector this month, enabling them to import rice into the country at a reduced tariff.
The state grains procurement agency will publish this month the invitation to participate in the private sector importation under the MAV scheme that comprises an aggregate volume of 805,000 metric tons (MT), National Food Authority (NFA) bids and award committee chair Joseph de la Cruz said.
“We will open it anytime this month and maybe the implementation would be July to October,” he said.
Last year, the Philippine agreed to increase the volume of rice that can enter the country at a reduced tariff of 35% to 805,000 MT from 350,000 MT in exchange for the extension of its special tax treatment on rice by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Within the MAV scheme, rice importers will enjoy a lower tariff beginning this year until 2017.
As ASEAN brings full integration this year, Filipino rice farmers will be pitted against agricultural powerhouses such as Thailand and Vietnam that can easily bring in rice to the Philippines at a low tariff.
It’s for this reason that the government is trying to groom growers of premium rice to increase production and improve the quality of its produce to maximize the benefits of free trade within Southeast Asia.
De la Cruz said they will determine if the remainder of the programmed importation this year, 100,000 MT, can be brought into the country using MAV.
The government was able to procure only 150,000 MT of the programmed importation of 250,000 MT of rice for the lean season, as last Friday’s government-to-government tender was undersubscribed.
The bids and awards committee of the NFA awarded the supply contract for the 150,000 MT to Vietnam Southern Food Corporation (Vinafood 2) for $410.12 (*P18,495.71) per MT after the state-run firm agreed to match the NFA’s reference price.
The Philippines plans to import a total of one million MT of rice this year as the prevailing dry spell is expected to reduce rice production this year.
The NFA awarded in February the supply contract for a total of 500,000 MT of rice to Vietnam and Thailand that arrived between March and April.
The agency also approved the importation of 250,000 MT for arrival between July to August as well as the importation on standby of another 250,000 MT.
The Department of Agriculture has already revised this year’s palay production target to 19.02 million MT from the original target of 20 million MT. – Rappler.com
*$1 = P 45.09