NFA to control rice imports | Inquirer Business

NFA to control rice imports

Private importers still need to get permits
By: - Reporter / @kocampoINQ
/ 05:35 AM October 17, 2018

Despite the latest pronouncement of President Duterte to liberalize the importation of rice, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said prospective importers still needed to secure the necessary permits from the National Food Authority (NFA).

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, the official said that while the NFA Council has already allowed rice retailers to directly import the staple, they would still have to go through the NFA process of accreditation and licensing.

This ran counter to the statement of former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who said that the President authorized the “unimpeded” importation of rice.


“The President never used the words ‘unimpeded importation.’ He said ‘let’s flood the market with rice,’” Piñol said.


He added that the government would only import what it needed to ensure that local farmers would not be on the losing end.

“The intention of the President is to just stabilize the supply and price in the market. The President also understands that we would only need to import what we need to ensure that the farmers would not suffer,” Piñol said.

This means rice imports would still be controlled by the grains agency through the issuance of import permits and the NFA would still have the final say as to which entities could bring in rice to the country.

The NFA Council, which is headed by Piñol, has already allowed retailers to import as much as 100,000 metric tons (MT) of rice so long as they secure the necessary permits.

If this pushes through, government-approved imports this year would reach 2.5 million tons—the highest on record since 2008.

It was during the Arroyo administration that the Philippines imported about 2.34 million tons of rice to address a shortfall.


The NFA has already approved the importation of 1.25 million tons of rice this year, 500,000 MT of which have already arrived in the country.

Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry has acquired some 350,000 MT of rice to be distributed under its “Suki Store” program, where consumers may avail themselves of affordable rice at P38 a kilo.

The country has also used up its minimum access volume (MAV) allocation for rice this year of 805,000 MT. The MAV is the allowed amount of imports that can enter the country at a lower import duty under an agreement with the World Trade Organization.

On top of these imports are the expected shipments from the private sector of at least 100,000MT. In total, the country would be importing about 2.5 million tons of rice.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

As of the last week of September, rice prices in the market have yet to go down despite cuts in wholesale prices. Piñol said he was informed by rice retailers in a conference this week that they were expecting retail prices to go down by the last week of October, or when their old rice stocks have been sold out.

TAGS: Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, importation of rice, National Food Authority (NFA)

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.