Cheap publicity, group says of rice export plans


    CITY OF SAN FERNANDO –  The government’s plan to export 130 metric tons (MT) of rice next month is “cheap publicity” when juxtaposed with the approval by the National Food Authority (NFA) to import  187,000 MT of rice for 2013.

    “Nice try, but it’s out -of-this -world publicity,” said Salvador France, vice chairperson of the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) in press statement.

    Assistant Sec. Dante de Lima of the Department of Agriculture (DA) announced last week that by May 6,  Dubai and Indonesia will receive 15 MT of black rice from Don Bosco Foundation for Sustainable Development Inc. in North Cotabato, 20 MT of japonica from the SL Agritech in Nueva Ecija and 30 MT of long grain aromatic white rice, also from a cooperative in Cotabato.

    “The agriculture officials of Pres. Aquino are being deceptive. The National Food Authority (NFA) had already approved the importation of 187,000 MT for 2013, which is way, way above the 130 metric tons of rice the country will export next month to Dubai and Indonesia,” France said.

    He said “the announced rice exportation is mere 100 percent promotional blitz for the rice self-sufficiency gimmick of the Aquino administration.”

    France noted that ”the NFA had already invited licensed grains businesses, farmers organizations and cooperatives to apply for rice importation this year.”

    “The source countries and their allocations are Thailand for 98,000 MT, China for 25,000 MT, India for 25,000 MT and Australia for 15,000 MT,”  he said.

    France also said that the suppliers were told to “submit the following to the NFA Central Office’s Grains Marketing Operations Department: a letter of intent, an NFA import license, the supplier’s pro-forma invoice, registration with BOC’s i-CARE, and its latest audited financial statement.”

    He also noted the NFA’s requirement imposed “at least 2,000 MT and not more than 5,000 MT, to be covered by a letter of credit or any other financial instrument opened with Land Bank of the Philippines.”

    “Malacañang wants to depict a different picture by exporting locally produced rice to Dubai and Indonesia, but in reality, we need much more rice for local consumption by importing from other countries which include but not limited to Thailand, Vietnam, China, India and Australia,” he added.

    France noted that Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala earlier predicted the palay harvest this year would yield around 20 million metric tons of rice, purportedly enough to feed a Philippine population that is expected to breach the 100 million mark by the time Aquino ends his term in 2016.

    “In 2010 the Aquino administration imported 2.5 million metric tons of rice, in 2011, the importation was reduced by 860,000 metric tons and last year by another 500,000 metric tons,” he said.

    “The Aquino administration was forced to reduce rice importation because tens of thousands of metric tons of imported rice are still rotting in government warehouses and they had to dispatch these rice imports before they could import again,” he noted.


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