Farmers’ cooperatives and private companies are asking the National Food Authority (NFA) for a one-month extension of the arrival period for rice imported under the so-called minimum access volume (MAV).
According to NFA Spokesman Marietta J. Ablaza, farmers’ cooperatives and firms need more time to bring in rice imported under the MAV scheme of the World Trade Organization.
“The import permits were distributed only last December and with holidays, farmers’ cooperatives and firms had very limited time to prepare the necessary paperwork,” Ablaza said.
She said NFA Administrator Jason Laureano Y. Aquino has yet to approve the request of the importers.
Last December the NFA allowed 210 farmers’ organizations and private firms to import 692,340 metric tons (MT) of rice, 110,160 MT less than the country’s annual MAV of 802,500 MT.
The NFA list available on its web site also showed that 194 qualified rice traders, including AgriNurture Inc. and Pilmico Foods Corp., will import 642,340 MT of rice under the country specific quota (CSQ). Of the total rice to be imported under the CSQ, 293,100 MT of rice will be bought from Thailand
Meanwhile, 16 qualified applicants will import a total of 50,000 MT of rice under the “omnibus origin” category, according to the NFA list.
Under NFA guidelines, rice imports under the MAV must arrive in the Philippines not later than February 28. The NFA administrator may also approve any extension of the arrival period.
As of February 10, only 108 qualified traders have used their respective import permits for 290,946.90 MT of imported rice, according to NFA data available on its web site.
Under the importation guidelines released by the NFA, rice traders are allowed to source from countries with specific quota and from omnibus origin or from any country.
Rice traders and farmers’ groups can import 293,100 MT of rice from Thailand and Vietnam. They can also import 50,000 MT of rice from China, India and Pakistan; 15,000 MT from Australia; and 4,000 MT from El Salvador. An additional volume of 50,000 MT is allowed to be imported from any country.
The NFA said it allows each organization or firm to import 20,000 MT.
Currently, the government allows rice imports within the MAV scheme to enter the country at a lower tariff of 35 percent. Imports in excess of the MAV are slapped a higher tariff of 50 percent.