HCMC – The National Food Authority (NFA) of the Philippines has proposed importing an additional 330,000 tons of rice to cover an expected deficit in its reserves.
The NFA needs to beef up its buffer stocks for emergency relief operations. However, boosting purchases from local farmers could drive up domestic prices, according to the Philippine presidential office’s statement released on April 14.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, also the country’s Minister of Agriculture, said he was seeking measures to curb rice prices.
The NFA has suggested rice imports be done through a government-to-government contract as the current law allows only private traders to import rice.
Though the NFA’s function has been limited to stocking the emergency buffer, the presidential office or its designated agency can decide to bring in rice for the NFA to improve the country’s rice reserves.
The Philippines’ year-end rice reserves were estimated at 1.69 million tons, equal to a 45-day buffer stock, just half the volume needed to stabilize prices.
The move may be seen as good news for Vietnamese rice exporters, as the Philippines is the biggest buyer of Vietnamese rice.
Statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed that Vietnam sold 3.2 million tons of rice valued at US$1.49 billion to the Philippines in 2022.
Rice exports to the Philippines in the first quarter of this year surged by 33% in volume at 893,200 tons and 44.8% in value at US$450.4 million year-on-year.