NFA met suppliers’ price to ensure Dec. delivery

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NFA rice warehouse
National Food Authority warehouse in Quezon City -- MICHAEL VARCAS

MEMBERS of the National Food Authority (NFA) Council had reservations about pursuing a government-to-government (G2G) rice procurement deal under which the Philippines had to pay a higher price to ensure delivery of Thai and Vietnamese rise by the end of 2018.

Ruth B. Castelo, NFA Council Member and an undersecretary at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), said in a text message: “Some had reservations but we had to prioritize bringing in the rice by year’s end.”

Ms. Castelo added: “G2G [is] a little more expensive but [the] Council fixed it to match the G2G price.

The initial reference price of the NFA was $447.88 per metric ton (MT) which resulted in failed consecutive bids after the agency declined to meet the offers from Thailand and Vietnam.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said earlier announced that the NFA Council has decided to adjust the price after the failed biddings, noting that the $447.80 reference price reflected the price of rice in Pakistan and India — which were not involved in the auctions.

The latest G2G procurement exercise covered 203,000 MT, part of the 750,000 MT approved by the Council for this year.

“DTI supported the G2G scheme for now just to make sure that we have enough supply of rice in the country. It is faster and will ensure arrival within the year,” Ms. Castelo said.

“The bidding was completed yesterday [Nov. 28] and arrival of rice by tranches is assured to be completed by Dec. 31, 2018,” Ms. Castelo added.

Mr. Piñol said last week that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is projecting a rice buffer stock of 134 days, moving toward 2019, incorporating inventory held by NFA, commercial entities, and households. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio