The Philippines, one of the world's top rice buyers, plans to import 250,000 tonnes of the grain next month, in order to increase stockpiles before the lean harvest season and offset potential crop damage during the typhoon season.This has been seen as a good opportunity for rice exporters from Thailand, Vietnam, India and Pakistan. Thailand's National Food Authority (NFA) said will announce the bidding immediately after securing approval from the NFA Council. The first imported rice batches should arrive in late June or early July. The council will also finalise the import terms for up to 805,000 tonnes of rice that local private traders will bring in under an annual quota scheme in order to ensure supply even during the typhoon season. The Philippine Government is shifting from buying rice under government-to-government deals to ensure competitiveness and transparency following accusations that some NFA officials were making money from such deals. The Philippines' storm season typically peaks from October to December with the strongest storms landing in, damaging the country's rice crops. Government stockpiles are just enough to cover eight days of national requirements. Meanwhile, the NFA is mandated to maintain a 15-day buffer stock at any given time and a minimum of 30 days during the lean harvest season from July to September. The Thai government now controls 4.32 million tonnes of state rice stocks and aims to dispose of it all by September this year, given rising rice demand. Of the total, 2.5 million tonnes of low-quality and decaying rice fit only for industrial use will no longer dampen the price of newly harvested rice. If the state succeeds in selling 1.82 million tonnes of quality rice, the state rice stocks will drop sharply to only 2.5 million tonnes. Of the remainder, 2 million tonnes will serve as animal feed and the rest will be used for energy production. The Thai Foreign Trade Department is scheduled to hold an auction for 2 million tonnes in June and another for 500,000 tonnes in July. - VNA
RICE FARMERS are estimated to have raised P32 billion from sales of palay, or unmilled rice, in the first quarter, the National Food Authority (NFA) reported yesterday, citing high farmgate prices.
By Jed Macapagal
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