MANILA - The National Food Authority (NFA) denied reports that the agency has initiated backdoor negotiations with Thailand for the importation of 1.3 million metric tons of rice.
In a statement, NFA Spokesperson Mayette Ablaza said the "NFA has not initiated nor participated in any form of negotiations with Vietnam or with the Thai government or any government involved in rice trading. No backdoor negotiations."
Reports regarding the alleged backdoor talks began circulating on Sunday after related documents were supposedly sent to reporters.
President Duterte earlier told the NFA to buy from local farmers first before considering rice imports.