PH to hold another bidding for rice imports

MANILA — The government will conduct another bidding for the procurement of the 500,000 metric tons (MT) of rice on Nov. 20, to augment the country’s buffer stock and bring prices further down.

This, after the National Food Authority (NFA) on Tuesday failed to secure offers for the supply of 203,000 MT of rice under a government-to-government (G to G) tender with Thailand and Vietnam, due to some provisions of the terms of reference for the importation. The two countries did not elaborate.

But NFA Assistant Administrator Maria Mercedes Yacapin, chair of the NFA Committee on G to G Procurement, said she is not worried about the agency’s failure to secure offers, noting the country has adequate rice inventory levels.

“We are still able to inject in the market about 15 percent in market participation which is a good batting average,” she told reporters. “And there is ongoing harvest, the NFA is able to procure palay with additional incentive of PHP3 per kilo so that is helping in the procurement process.”

Yacapin said the suggested retail price (SRP) for rice has been implemented in the market which helps temper inflation.

“In fact, we have been seeing prices in the market go down,” she added. “In fact, supermarkets also are having their own low rice prices.”

Meanwhile, the 203,000 MT of rice for bidding Tuesday was the balance from the 250,000 MT offered for bidding last Oct. 18 under the open tender scheme.

With majority of the bid offers exceeding the NFA’s approved budget of USD 428.18/MT, only 47,000 MT was awarded to three suppliers who offered prices lower than the approved budget.

“We always improve upon a certain condition. We just clarify the terms,” Yacapin said, referring to provisions of the terms of reference for the G to G importation of rice. Leslie Gatpolintan/