250,000 MT rice import may be put on hold: Piñol
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he will ask the regional offices of the Department of Agriculture to validate harvest assumptions and the planned importation of 250,000 metric tons of rice for the country’s buffer stocks.
Piñol said the DA expects a bumper harvest this planting season and this is proven by the fields that are ready for harvest that he saw while flying over Oriental Mindoro, Panay Island, and the Bicol Region.
“So far, there was no reported infestation and this season’s crops have not been affected by inclement weather,” he said.
He said once his assumption of a bumper harvest is confirmed, he will advise the National Food Authority Council to put on hold the planned importation by the private sector of an additional 250,000 metric tons of rice from Vietnam.
“Allowing private traders to bring in imported rice at this time would result in a drop in the buying price of palay produced by Filipino farmers,” he said.
Instead of importing, he said he will suggest that the NFA allocate more funds to buy farmers’ produce this season.
“The local farmers’ produce could fill up whatever requirements there are to establish a sufficient buffer stock of rice for the rest of the year,” he added.