PH to import 250,000 metric tons of rice by November

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 5) — An additional 250,000 metric tons of rice will be imported to the country.

The National Food Authority Council (NFAC) said, in a statement Wednesday, it instructed the NFA to hold open tender immediately for the importation of the additional rice stocks to arrive in November.

The imported rice would beef up current NFA's stock of the staple grain.

The council added the importation could increase the NFA's active participation in the market by as much as 20 percent.

This is the third time the country has imported rice. An initial 250,000 metric tons arrived in February, and the second shipment of 250,000 metric tons arrived in June.

The NFA has been under fire in recent days over the escalating cost of rice and the depletion of stock.

In an interview with CNN Philippines' The Source Monday, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said the agency was in limbo.

However, President Rodrigo Duterte denied there was a shortage.

At a House committee hearing, it was revealed that most of the NFA's ₱7 billion budget for 2018 was spent to pay back loans instead of buying rice supply from local farmers.

Congress gave the NFA the funds to ensure there is enough buffer stocks of the staple grain to last at least 30 days.

In August, Malacañang said the NFAC would authorize an increase in imports for government-subsidized rice.<<>>