THE PHILIPPINES’ National Food Authority (NFA) on Friday accepted offers from both Vietnam and Thailand for 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice supply, as it rushes to rebuild depleted buffer stocks ahead of the lean local harvest season.
The NFA, the state agency tasked with ensuring stable rice supply and prices in the domestic market, increased its budget by about 10% for the rice purchases, after initial offers last week from Vietnam and Thailand exceeded its reference prices.
It reopened the tender on Friday for the government-to-government procurement. Vietnam will supply 130,000 MT and Thailand will deliver the balance of 120,000 MT.
The NFA allocated $531 per ton for its purchase of 50,000 MT of 15% broken rice, a deal won by Vietnam with an offer of $526.50 a ton.
Vietnam also won a separate deal involving 80,000 MT of 25% broken rice at $517.50 a ton, below the NFA’s budget of $520.50 a ton.
Thailand won a 120,000-MT supply deal involving 25% broken rice with a similar offer of $517.50 a ton.
The offers were still subject to final approval by the NFA council, said Judy Carol Dansal, deputy NFA administrator and head of the panel that held the tender.
The Philippines, a frequent rice importer, plans to buy another 250,000 MT in an open tender later this month.
Delivery of its rice purchases begins next month, ahead of the so-called lean months of July to September when there is minimal or zero harvest locally.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte in April directed the NFA to build up its rice buffer stock to the equivalent of 60 days of national consumption, or as much as 1.92 million MT, from less than 2 days of consumption in March.
The fresh rice purchases come as the dwindling supply of cheap NFA rice led to a spike in domestic prices of the staple grain, feeding into inflation which accelerated at its fastest pace in at least five years in April. — Reuters