By Madelaine B. Miraflor
After Thailand and Vietnam — the only countries with existing rice trade agreement with the Philippines — refused to sell their rice to the country at a cheaper price, the National Food Authority (NFA) is now all set to conduct another government-to-government (G2G) bidding with the two governments.
Banking on the “close ties” with the two countries, the NFA is hoping that Vietnam and Thailand will adjust their bid offers at a more favorable price.
Otherwise, the Philippines may have to adjust its reference price a little higher, a source from NFA said.
To recall, NFA declared a failure of bidding on Friday after it rejected twice the bid offers from Vietnam and Thailand since they were significantly higher than the NFA’s set reference price of $483.63 per metric ton for 15 percent brokens and $474.18 per metric ton 25 percent brokens.
Thus, the state-run grains agency decided to conduct another bidding on May 4 (Friday), hoping that by that time, the two countries will be able to present a much favourable bid offers.
“The bidding will have the same TOR [Terms of Reference] but our reference price will have to be recomputed too,” the NFA official, who refused to be named, said.
According to him, NFA will really have to adjust its reference price because if Vietnam and Thailand will find it too low again, they might just turn to bigger markets like China.
“The demand for rice in China is also way too big. What if they’ll just decide to sell it there?” he further said.
Under the procurement law, a bidding can only fail three times and then a re-negotiation between all parties will take place.
But NFA Deputy Administrator Judy Carol Dansal is optimistic that the second bidding will finally be successful.
The failure of bidding came at a crucial time when the Philippines is scrambling to purchase cheaper imported rice.
Now, NFA has turned to local traders’ commitment to continue supplying retail outlets with cheaper rice.