Gov't expects lower rice prices as PH opens importation talks with Vietnam, India

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 11) — The national government expects lower rice prices soon as the Department of Agriculture started negotiations on importation deals with Vietnam and India.

Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said the DA opened the talks upon the directive of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who also spearheads the department.

Panganiban said that Vietnamese exporters have given price quotations that are US $30-40 lower than what was quoted in a recent meeting in Malacañang.

The DA official added that the agency is working with India "to allow imports (to continue) on humanitarian grounds."

"This will hopefully pave the way for the country to get better terms for the additional 300,000 to 500,000 MT rice importation for this year," said Panganiban in a statement.

"This will help lower the prices of rice as it will further beef up our national inventory which, even without importation, is expected to last for 52 to 57 days by end of 2023."

Marcos earlier said that the government will not import rice as long as there is enough supply of the food staple. He also noted that the country has enough rice stock to last even after the El Niño phenomenon next year.

Agriculture Undersecretary Mercedita Sombillo earlier said the projected ending stock for this year is 1.96 million metric tons, which is enough for 52 days.