Philippines says not buying more rice this year

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 02 2010 03:24 PM | Updated as of Aug 03 2010 02:48 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The state grain agency is not keen on buying more rice this year after the new administration had said the previous government may have imported too much rice in past years.

"I will not issue any import permits for 2010," Lito Banayo, administrator of the National Food Authority (NFA), told reporters.

The Philippines is the world's biggest buyer of rice.

President Benigno Aquino III earlier alleged that imports of the staple in recent years were much more than what the country actually needed.

Banayo, for his part, said that inventory of NFA warehouses nationwide yielded rice stocks that could feed the country up to the end of the year.

In some warehouses, rice stocks have been reported to be rotting.

Banayo said old stocks will be sold at a bargain to help trim the NFA's debts and reduce its reliance on government subsidies. Excess volume will also be donated to feeding programs. With a report from Reuters