NFA issues rules for Zambasulta rice imports

The National Food Authority (NFA) on Thursday announced that the 33,500 metric tons (MT) of rice for Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi (Zambasulta) must arrive before the end of September.

The schedule of arrival for the 33,500 MT is included in the amendments/addenda to the general guidelines in the importation of 805,200 MT of rice under the minimum access volume (MAV) scheme for calendar year 2017-2018.

The NFA released on September 6 the changes in the guidelines, which will cover the importation of 133,500 MT of rice by the private sector for the Zambasulta area.

Under the guidelines, the NFA has designated Zamboanga City port as the sole discharge port for the total imported volume.

The NFA, with the approval of the NFA Council, has decided that only nonwinning bidders in the previous auction held last June 25 would be allowed to participate in the importation
for Zambasulta.

For the 33,500 MT, interested farmers organizations (FOs) and non-FOs “shall be qualified to apply and/or submit on a first-come, first-served basis without service fee” until the total volume has been exhausted.

Interested importers may avail themselves of a minimum allocation of 5,000 MT and a maximum of 10,000 MT.

The importers must bring in their volume within 15 days after the issuance of their Certificate of Eligibility to Import Rice (COEIR). Importers will not be given
any arrival extensions.

The NFA said that the application would commence from September 7 to 10 for the 33,500 MT importation. The COEIR would be issued on September 11.

As for the remaining 100,000 MT, the NFA would be allocated through an auction of service fee using the previous MAV  guidelines.

“Eighty percent, or 80,000 MT, shall be allocated to farmer organizations and the remaining 20 percent, or 20,000 MT, shall be allocated to non-farmer organizations,” the guidelines read.

Interested bidders may also avail themselves of a minimum of 5,000 MT and a maximum of 10,000 MT.

Winning importers for the remaining 100,000 MT must bring in their allocated volumes starting October 1 and not later than November 30 without extension, according to the NFA.

The NFA would start accepting applications for the 100,000 MT rice importation on September 7 until September 10. The NFA has scheduled the auction at the Land Bank of the Philippines on September 20, while the issuance of COEIR would be from September 21 to 25.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said the NFA Council gave its go signal to import rice for the Zambasulta area during a special meeting on August 29.

The meeting was requested by the Department of Agriculture to ease the tightness in rice supply in the Zambasulta area, which continues to grapple with high prices.

The government slaps a tariff of 35 percent for rice imported within the MAV and 50 percent for those outside of the quota.

Image Credits: Bloomberg

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Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas is a graduate of the UST Journalism School (Batch 2016). He currently covers agribusiness for the BusinessMirror. He joined the news outfit in August 2016.