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Pre-bid conference for rice importation draws 12 companies

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PHILSTAR

TWELVE companies participated in the pre-bid conference for the importation 250,000 metric tons of 25% broken well-milled long grain white rice for the National Food Authority on Friday.

They were: Phoenix Global DMCC, Vinafood 2, Asia Golden Rice, Shwe Hua Co. Ltd., GIA International Corp., Thai Hua Co. Ltd., Ponglarp Co. Ltd., Thai Capital Crops Co. Ltd., ADM Asia Pacific Trading PTE Ltd., Vinafood 1, Capital Cereals Co. Ltd., and Olam International Limited.

According to an NFA statement, the pre-bidding will tackle the eligibility requirements of prospective foreign bidders; the parameters and technical specifications of the rice to be imported; quantity, source, and packaging; specifications on the offer or tender; bid security and performance bond; components of the price offer; penalties; delivery provisions; arrival procedures; surveyor and cargo handler; insurance and payments.

The actual bidding will be on Oct. 18. The 250,000 metric tons of rice is part of the total 750,000 metric tons of rice approved by the NFA Council to be imported this year.

It can be noted that Vinafood 2, a state-owned corporation of Vietnam tasked to export rice and help achieve food security in Southeast Asia, received original proponent status from the NFA through its partnership with Filipino company AgriNurture Inc. in a $1-billion exclusive deal to import 2 million metric tons of rice to the Philippines starting this year.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol also announced on Friday that stakeholders of the rice industry agreed to have a Suggested Buying Price (SBP) for farmers’ produce and Suggested Retail Price (SRP) for rice sold in the market.

“In the proposal, a base price must be set for farm fresh paddy rice and for clean and dry palay. The initial proposal was for a base price of P18 per kilo for farm fresh palay and P21 per kilo for clean and dry paddy rice,” Mr. Piñol said in a statement.

The prices for the SBP will be finalized by Oct. 18, Mr. Piñol said, while the implementation of the SRP will take place at the end of October.

The agreed SRPs are: P39 per kilo of regular milled rice, P42 per kilo of well-milled rice, P44 per kilo of long grains head rice. Prices for heirloom and organic rice still have to be agreed upon.

“In the first rice stakeholders meeting which was called by the Philippine Council on Agriculture and Fisheries which I presided as the new Chairman of the NFA Council, the stakeholders agreed to implement SRP on rice by the last week of October. The traders requested for a two-week grace period so they could dispose of the stocks they bought at higher prices,” Mr. Piñol said.

Meanwhile, the NFA denied Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian’s statement that supermarkets are have to pay for a permit to sell rice.

Mr. Gatchalian had said that “the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association (Pagasa) revealed that the NFA is requiring retailers with a paid-up capital of P10 million to pay P115,000 for a permit to sell rice.”

According to NFA, this is not true and that the agency is surprised the issue was never brought up by the supermarket owners to the Department of Trade and Industry when the memorandum of agreement was signed to allow Pagasa members to sell NFA rice.

“Based on the NFA rules on licensing, application fee for single-line business is only P110 while multi-line business application fee is only P165. Additional fees for license to retail depends on capitalization. Retailers with capitalization up to P10,000 are only charged with P165 while the maximum is P11,000 for retailers with capitalization of more than P1,000,000,” NFA said in its statement. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio