Philippines estimates rice import requirement at 800,000 MT.

National Food Authority (NFA) is looking to import around 800,000 metric tons (MT) of rice this year under a government-to-government arrangement to cover the lean months in the third quarter. Critical stock levels of the staple grain in government warehouses and inventory in government warehouses was 400,000 MT. Stocks have thus fallen below the buffer stock the agency is mandated to maintain. Some places will have very tight supply by April and May. By end of June, the NFA’s buffer stock will be short so there is approval of the 250,000 MT importation which need to utilize by June this year and the remaining standby volume to cover the gap in buffer stock requirement. Of this total, only 250,000 MT has been activated with the top exporting countries, Vietnam and Thailand, clinching the bid.