MANILA-- The government will no longer push through with its plan to import 300,000 metric tons of rice under a government-to-government scheme, Malacañang said Monday as it assured Filipinos of enough supply of the staple grain.
The importation of rice was approved by the government's pandemic task force in March as a contingency. The Philippine International Trading Corp was supposed to arrange the purchase through government-to-government arrangements.
“Wala na pong rice importation munang mangyayari. Sapat po ang ating supply ng bigas," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
(There will be no rice importation. We have enough supply.)
The development comes just a month after President Rodrigo Duterte received assurance from Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc of unimpeded rice imports as the coronavirus crisis continues.
Ensuring the supply of the staple grain is among the Philippine government's key concerns as the public grew wary over access to food in light of lockdowns.
But Agriculture Secretary William Dar has assured the public that the Philippines has enough supply of food, including rice, until the end of the year.
On average, a Filipino consumes 118.81 kilograms of rice annually, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported. This is equivalent to 325.5 grams of milled rice daily.
With a current population of 108.66 million Filipinos, the country’s total annual consumption would amount to 12.9 million metric tons, the Department of Agriculture said.