Philippine govt stops rice importation

A day after the Agriculture Ministry launched a five-year plan, Prime Minister Hun Sen slams those calling on the government to set the price of rice while also encouraging foreign investment in the Kingdom’s agro-processing industry. KT/Chor Sokunthea. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MANILA, Jun 29, 2020, Manila Bulletin. The government will no longer push through with its planned importation of rice due to the country’s sufficient supply of the staple at present, Malacañang announced on Monday, Manila Bulletin reported.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Philippine International Trading Corp. dropped its plan to import 300,000 metric tons of rice under a government-to-government scheme.

The Palace earlier said any rice importation of PITC, an agency attached to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), must first obtain the consent of President Duterte even if the bidding has taken place.

“Wala na pong rice importation munang mangyayari. Sapat po ang ating supply ng bigas (There will be no rice importation that will happen for now. We have sufficient rice supply),” Roque said during the Palace press briefing.

The latest government decision came after Vietnam resumed exporting rice to Southeast Asian nations last May after a brief suspension to assess its local stocks during the coronavirus pandemic.

Back in March, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases approved the Department of Agriculture’s recommendation to import an additional 300,000 MT of rice through government-to-government arrangement with Southeast trading partners to boost domestic stocks if necessary. The standby authority came after Vietnam temporarily suspended the signing of new rice contracts.

Last May, President Duterte obtained an assurance from Vietnamese counterpart to provide a long-term supply of rice to the Philippines at competitive prices. Duterte thanked Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc for the commitment during their phone conversation.

The Philippines buys rice mostly from Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar.

From January 1 to May 1, 2020, the Philippines has contracted 666,480 MT of rice from Vietnam. At least 218,300 MT of rice have been delivered.

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