Rice imports for buffer stocks — PGMA

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union (May 6) — In a bid to have enough supply of rice and not be alarmed of negative news, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo assured the Filipino people that a 1.2 million metric tons of rice was already secured to make up for a 10 percent gap between production and consumption.

PGMA revealed that before the news broke out that Thailand, one of the Philippines’ rice sources has decided to withdraw from the bidding of rice supply for the country, both countries Vietnam and Thailand and even other neighbors have already signed contracts with the government of a 1.2 million metric tons to make Philippines self-sufficient in the staple.

With the importation of rice, the President said “if we are to go into the market again, it is for buffer stocks. It is a “take it or leave it” stance ( rice from other nations) as far as NFA is concerned and depending on how the prices are, she added.

Arroyo explained further that “while there are global clouds on the horizon that are driving up the price of oil and food, particularly rice, we are now in a vastly improved position to weather this storm than at any other time in recent memory.”

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap supported Arroyo saying the importation of rice would be used as buffer stocks and we plan to buy another 675,00 tons of rice. He added that summer harvest is coming in strong, and that we have enough supply of rice through NFA’s trading activities as we are focused on increased production in the wet season of 2008.

Aiming to have a sufficient supply of rice for year 2009, the DA chief presented a rice-sufficiency plan to the President whom he made together with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (Philrice).

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