MANILA - The state grains buyer issued on Thursday an international tender to buy 250,000 tons of 25 percent broken long grain white rice, rushing to boost thinning government stockpile.
Bids must be submitted on or before July 25, when the sealed offers will be opened, the National Food Authority (NFA) said.
The Philippines, one of the world's biggest rice importers, usually buys from major suppliers Vietnam and Thailand.
However, this time the tender is also open to private suppliers from other countries including Pakistan and top supplier India.
Manila has shifted away from buying rice under government-to government deals to ensure competitiveness and transparency following accusations that some NFA officials were making money from such deals, which the agency has denied.
State inventories have shrunk to the least in more than three years, just enough to cover five days of national requirement. But local retail prices remain largely stable, thanks to still abundant stocks held by the private sector.
The NFA is mandated to maintain a 15-day buffer stock at any given time and a minimum of 30 days during the lean harvest season from July to September.
The entire 250,000-tonne shipment should arrive between August and September, the agency said.