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PH to import extra 500,000 tons of rice to boost stocks

The Philippines will import an extra 500,000 tons of rice to increase its thin stockpile after a typhoon damaged crops last week.

The fresh demand announced yesterday by the Philippines’ food security chief, Francis Pangilinan, brings the country’s total rice purchases for this year’s needs to nearly 2 million tons, the highest in four years, making the country one of the world’s biggest rice buyers.

RICE SUPPLY – Stevedores unload 120 cavans of National Food Authority imported rice from Vietnam at the Poro Point pier in San Fernando City, La Union. The shipment is the additional allocation for the city intended for the lean months. The Philippines will import an additional 500,000 metric tons of rice, including 200,000, to cover damage caused by Typhoon Glenda this month. (Erwin Beleo)

RICE SUPPLY – Stevedores unload 120 cavans of National Food Authority imported rice from Vietnam at the Poro Point pier in San Fernando City, La Union. The shipment is the additional allocation for the city intended for the lean months. The Philippines will import an additional 500,000 metric tons of rice, including 200,000, to cover damage caused by Typhoon Glenda this month. (Erwin Beleo)

“We have agreed that we will import an additional 500,000 metric tons of rice,” Pangilinan told local radio. “There will be a tender and (the shipment) is expected to come in by end of August, first week of September.”

Pangilinan met with the country’s economic managers on Tuesday to seek approval for the fresh rice imports.

Typhoon “Glenda,” the strongest storm to hit the Philippines since super-typhoon “Yolanda” in November, killed 97 people and damaged $172 million worth crops and infrastructure.

“We lost some 50,000 metric tons from the typhoon and local harvest is not expected to start until end of September,” Pangilinan said.

INCREASE NFA STOCKS

Inventories of rice stocks by the National Food Authority (NFA) and those held by the private sector and households were currently good for 82 or 83 days of national consumption, below a requirement for a 90-day buffer stock, he said.

Pangilinan said NFA would release extra rice stocks from its warehouses to stabilize prices and help feed victims of the typhoon. Of the additional imports, 400,000 tons would be used to refill the warehouses.

Pangilinan also told The Wall Street Journal yesterday that daily releases from NFA warehouses have been increased to 10,000 tons from 6,000 tons.

“We need to augment our stocks,” he said. “If we don’t intervene, local rice prices will remain high or even rise further.”

The latest purchase will add to a series of deals from last November to import a total of 1.5 million tons of rice from Vietnam, the country’s traditional supplier.

FIRE ALCALA

And because the government failed to fulfill its rice-sufficiency promise for 2014, consumer group Coalition of Filipino Consumers (CFC) asked President Aquino to remove Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala from office for his ineptness.

Perfecto Tagalog, secretary-general of the CFC claimed that Alcala put Aquino in an embarrassing position after the president in his last SONA promised that the country will be rice-sufficient in 2014.

Instead of a bountiful harvest, the NFA will now more than double the country’s rice export, he added.

Tagalog said Alcala has not proven anything to merit his stay in his current post as his tenure has been marked by the soaring prices of rice and other prime agricultural commodities in the market.

The Philippines recently shifted away from setting a target date for a plan to be completely self-sufficient in the production of rice likely keeping its doors open to imports beyond the current goal of 2016.

The United States’ Department of Agriculture has forecast that the Philippines may need to import as much as 2 million tons of rice this year and 1.8 million tons in 2015.

  • akoypinoi

    The NPAs and the Abbu Sayaffs are more powerful than this ineffective president. Next time think wisely when you choose a leader; the one who is competent rather than by popularity and out of pity.

    • juliet

      You are wrong. This NPA’s and Abu Sayaff will not be powerful without help from few corrupt politicians and corrupt military. The government and military still giving some maximum tolerance because those members were still Filipino and when you ask them… they still don’t understand what really they are fighting for. In other words… most of them are brainwashed by the Master’s of the Art of Deceptions! Nakakaawang idamay sa kaguluhan. Sinasabing kasalanan ng gobyerno kung bakit mahirap pa rin sila. Pero sa katunayan ang NPA mismo ang dahilan kung bakit mahirap pa rin sila.

  • libra

    Kung ang inilagay sana sa DAR eh yung may alam sa agrikultura at hindi politiko, hindi sana tayo mag-aangkat ng bigas pa sa ibang bansa. Ang problema kasi sa gobyerno ay mas pino-protektahan nila yung mga big time traders na puro chinese. pinapabayaan nila yung mga farmers natin. Dapat sa mga farmers sana ibinuhos ni Pinoy yung DAP. Wala eh, si Noynoy kasi Haciendero kaya hindi niya alam ang kalakaran sa bukid. Nakakalungkot isipin na noong panahon ni Marcos, ang Pilipinas ang pangunahing bansa sa asia na nag-bebenta ng bigas. Pilipino ang nagtuturo sa mga dayuhan kung papaano ang tamang pagtatanim ng palay. Ngayon, isang Aquino na ang naging Presidente at isang Aquino ang kasalukuyang Presidente, ang Pilipinas na ang bumili ng bigas sa mga dayuhang bansa! Sana nman, kung minsan, tayong mga Pilipino ay tumingin sa nakaraan.

  • juliet

    Very sad to hear that Philippines lost agricultural crops worth billions. One solution I would suggest to prevent big loss in agriculture is to put major crop production in the southern Visayas and whole Mindanao. We know Luzon is always bombarded by typhoons every year. Mindanao is very rare. You have typhoon in Luzon but we have sunshine or scattered rain some parts here in Mindanao. The soil is also rich in nutrients. Only the problem here in Mindanao is the rebels particularly the NPA’s. That’s why it is very important to have peace in Mindanao. Mindanao is also a big help in the Philippine economy specially in agriculture, fisheries, minerals and tourism.

    I agree that Sec. Alcala should be changed. So many years He failed his promise to Pnoy and Filipinos. To much is enough to see the reason why He should not step down.