By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The National Food Authority (NFA) has failed for the third time to secure supply for bulk of the 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice it has been ordered to import for the remainder of the year as Vietnam and Thailand — the only countries with existing rice trade agreement with the Philippines — won’t sell their rice at cheaper price.
On Tuesday, NFA conducted the re-bidding for the supply and purchase of 203,000 MT of 25 percent broken, long grain white rice under a government-to-government (G2G) importation.
But Vietnam and Thailand both made bid offers higher than NFA’s reference price of US$447.88 per metric ton (MT).
Thailand particularly offered to supply NFA with 100,000 MT of rice for US$480.80 per MT, which should arrive in the country in two batches, half of which should be here not later than December 15 and the rest should be here by December 31.
Vietnam, for its part, was trying to sell 203,000 MT of rice to the Philippines for $483 per MT.
The two countries were then given a chance to make another offer but ended up making bids that are still above NFA’s reference price.
During the second part of the bidding, Vietnam decided to lower its offer price but only up to US$481.50 per MT, while Thailand set its new offer price at US$481.50 per MT.
In an interview, NFA’s Assistant Administrator Maria Mercedes Yacapin insisted that NFA’s reference price “is based on our study on the trends of the international market”.
“We do our own world market monitoring of prices,” Yacapin said.
A data from Live Rice Index also shows that the price of rice in Thailand has been on a downtrend since October, with its 5 percent broken rice priced at US$375 per MT as of November 11.
“If the price of 5 percent broken rice is at US$375 per MT, the price of 25 percent broken rice [which we are importing] should be around US$360 per MT,” Samahang Industriya sa Agrikultura (SINAG) Chairman Rosendo So said in a text exchange. “Thai rice went down US$10 per MT compare last month”.
Thus, So said there’s no need for NFA to import anymore, especially if Thailand and Vietnam won’t lower their offer price.
“MAV import will also start to arrive,” So said.
The subject volume for bidding was the balance from the 250,000 MT offered for bidding last October 18 under an open tender scheme.
With majority of the bid offers exceeding the NFA’s approved budget of US$428.18 per MT, only 47,000 MT was awarded to three suppliers who offered prices lower than the approved budget.
On November 6, NFA first attempted to secure offers for the supply of the remaining 203,000 MT of rice through a G2G tender but also failed since Thailand and Vietnam refused to participate in the bidding.