AGRINURTURE, INC. (ANI) on Thursday said the National Food Authority (NFA) gave the company original proponent status for its unsolicited joint venture proposal to finance and import rice in the country.
In a disclosure to the stock exchange, ANI said it received a letter from the NFA saying the company has been considered as the “original proponent” of the public private partnership (PPP) project that involves a joint venture for the rice supply requirements of the NFA.
Last March, ANI submitted an unsolicited proposal to finance and purchase up to 500,000 metric tons (MT) of imported rice for the NFA. ANI allocated $100 million for the project.
In a separate statement, ANI said the NFA “will not release a single peso” for the purchase of the rice, allowing the agency to use its funds to buy more palay from local farmers or import more rice .
“Under the proposed JV agreement, the ANI consortium shall finance the supply of NFA rice with no cash out on the part of government. Both parties shall jointly determine the origin, suppliers, delivery and arrival periods, packing and loading and discharging ports. NFA, on the other hand, will solely determine the type of commodity to be imported, specifications and quantity,” the company said.
However, ANI said the proposed joint venture is not intended to replace the local supply, but only “augment the country’s rice inventory at no cost to the government.”
“The project shall now proceed in accordance with both the technical and legal processes under the NEDA ‘Guidelines and Procedures for Entering into Joint Venture (JV) Agreements between Government and Private Entities,’” the listed company, led by businessman Antonio L. Tiu, said.
As an unsolicited proposal, the ANI project will have to undergo a Swiss challenge, wherein third parties can submit competing offers. The original proponent will be given the right to match these offers.
In a text message to BusinessWorld, an ANI representative said the NFA is expected to make a decision within 60 days “due to low buffer stocks.” The Philippine Statistics Authority recently reported the NFA’s rice stock as of July 1 is estimated to last for only one day. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato