Traders: Import halt to distort flow of affordable rice


A group of rice industry stakeholders has appealed to the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to lift the suspension on the issuance of import permits, citing the rice tariffication law that liberalized trading so that inexpensive rice could reach consumers.

The Philippine Rice Industry Stakeholders’ Movement (Prism) said the suspension of imports might affect the country’s food security as this would tighten the availability of affordable imported rice.

This may also discourage traders from importing in the future as world market prices for the staple are already expected to go up.

According to Prism, the normal flow should continue while prices abroad are still low.

The group issued the statement to the press over the weekend following Agriculture Secretary William Dar’s interview with the Inquirer wherein he said the agency would no longer issue sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPSICs) to traders and importers until the end of the year.

The group said the suspension “may result in adverse implications due to the late timing of approval and releases of SPSICs that is meant to augment the household and industry stocks.”

Dar earlier said the country already has more than enough supply.

“We already stopped approving [permits] and we’re not expecting anymore this year,” he said. —KARL. R. OCAMPO INQ

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