rice imports
WORKERS unload 10,800 tons of rice from Vietnam — one of the world’s biggest producers of the grain and main source of Philippine rice imports — at the port of Tabaco City, Albay in this July 5 photo. — AFP

THE PHILIPPINES will import an additional 250,000 tons of rice via an open tender, the state grains procurement agency said on Wednesday, as the government rushes to boost domestic supply and curb rising retail prices of the staple grain.
“The National Food Authority (NFA) Council, the policy-making body of the NFA, has approved the additional importation of 250,000 metric tons of rice to beef up current NFA stocks,” it said in a news release.
“In a meeting held at the NFA Boardroom on Sept. 4, the Council has instructed the NFA to hold an open tender immediately for the importation of the additional rice stocks to arrive in November 2018,” it added, explaining that the additional supply “can increase NFA’s active participation in the market by as much as 20%.”
The decision comes as the country’s annual inflation shot up to a faster-than-expected 6.4% in August — the fastest in nearly a decade — due in part to increases in key food items including rice.
The additional rice purchase is on top of the 133,500 tons to be shipped in between Sept. 15 and Nov. 30 in order to address thin supply in the western Mindanao provinces of Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, NFA Spokeswoman Rebecca C. Olarte told Reuters. — main report by Reuters