Author: Louise Maureen Simeon
Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Philippine Statistics Authority.
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is now calling for the immediate importation of the 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice that will serve as the country’s buffer stock in time for the coming of the lean months.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he is now backing the proposal of state-run National Food Authority (NFA) to purchase the volume via government-to-government importation scheme, following the end of the harvest season.
“Let the NFA do the importation now since it’s already the end of the harvest season. Now is the best time to import and I told this to the president already because the world market price is plummeting,” Piñol told reporters in a chance interview.
To recall, the NFA has been pushing for the importation but the inter-agency NFA Council deferred the proposal.
Piñol maintained that NFA should start the process now as it would take approximately two months before the arrival of the rice, which will be just in time for the start of lean months in July.
“I was asked by the president on my views regarding the importation. This was a conversation between the two of us and he favors the idea,” Piñol said.
But, the agriculture chief clarified that the planned importation should just be for the coming lean months and said buying from the local farmers is still a priority.