Philippines to nearly triple local rice purchases

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The Philippine government will nearly triple rice purchases from local farmers this year, officials said on Monday, after it rejected a proposal last week to impose safeguard duty.

The National Food Authority (NFA) said it will now buy up to 1.14 million tonnes of unmilled rice from local farmers, who were hurt by the removal of quantitative import restrictions, compared with the previous target of 389,000 tonnes.

The state-run agency’s purchases this year have already exceeded half of the new target, spokeswoman Rebecca Olarte said.

NFA also said it has been authorised by its council to buy the staple grain at 19 Pesos (11 Baht) per kilogram, from 17 Pesos previously, and sell them to retailers at 23 Pesos per kg, reduced from 25 Pesos.

The announcement comes after Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said on Friday that the “foolhardy idea” of imposing safeguard duty on rice imports, which could push up inflation, has been dropped.

The Southeast Asian nation, which is one of the world’s biggest rice importers and often buys grains from its neighbours Vietnam and Thailand, lifted a two-decade-old cap on purchases early this year and replaced it with tariffs.

By Reuters                                                                                                            Source: Bangkok Post

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