Vietnam, Thailand withdraw from bidding to supply 203,000 MT rice to PH 

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Both Thailand and Vietnam refused to participate in the bidding to supply the country with 203,000 metric tons of rice, citing the National Food Auhtority's (NFA) terms of reference of importation. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 6) — Both Thailand and Vietnam refused to participate in the bidding to supply the country with 203,000 metric tons of rice, citing the National Food Authority's (NFA) terms of reference of importation.  

According to a letter read by Maria Mercedes Yacapin, Chair of the NFA Committee on Government-to-Government Procurement, Thailand cannot adhere to the terms of reference provided to them on October 31.  

The terms of reference, which enumerates the conditions to be followed by bidders, included reassignments of discharge ports, fumigation conditions and fines for short deliveries.  

"Having considered the NFA's condition, we are concerned that the terms of reference even with some amendments as stated in your letter remains difficult for us in terms if compliance," the letter said. 

Thailand's foreign trade department also argued that they have already abided by the terms of reference set on May 16 this year.  

Vietnam echoed Thailand's sentiments saying they may not be able to comply with the regulations under the terms of reference.  

Vietnam and Thailand, produce an average of 5-8 tons per hectare at P5 to P9 per kilogram, while local farmers produce only 3 to 6 tons at higher costs of ₱11 to ₱14 per kilogram. Authorities have resorted to importing rice from these two countries to lower costs in the market.  

However, Yacapin contends that Thailand and Vietnam's withdrawal is not a cause for alarm since they are expecting rice prices to stabilize due to the implemented suggested retail price (SRP). The SRP sets prices of rice at ₱37 to ₱47 per kilogram.  

She added that they are also expecting 47,000 metric tons of rice to arrive on November 30 from last month's bidding.

In an interview with CNN Philippines News Night, National Food  Authority (NFA) spokesperson Gerry Imperial said the countries refused to participate because of the shortness of the delivery period for the staple. He said the first 250,000 metric tons import of rice is expected to be delivered to the markets by the end of December.

Imperial added rice supply will still be sufficient even without the supply of the said countries.

"Yes, there is enough supply, and kasalukuyan tayong umaani. Although tumama si 'Ompong' at 'Rosita' sa northern part of Luzon, di naman naapektuhan ang isa sa rice granary natin na Region IV and other rice-producing provinces in Central Luzon," Imperial said.

[Translation:Yes, there is enough supply, and we're currently harvesting. Although typhoons Ompong and Rosita hit parts of Northern Luzon, they have not affected one of our rice granary which is Region IV, and other rice-producing provinces in Central Luzon.]


CNN Philippines' correspondent Carolyn Bonquin contributed to this report.