DA to void unused rice import clearances
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - February 25, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture is bent on canceling the existing sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPSIC) of those who failed to bring in the volume they applied for to prevent palay (unhusked rice) prices from declining.

“We have enough rice. We have inventory good for 90 to 94 days plus the harvest is coming,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

“There are new permits. Last month, about 175,000 MT of imports came and we expect it to be the same in February. We expect a decline in March and April as the harvest season begins,” Dar said.

Data from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) showed that 4,069 SPSIC were issued as of the end of 2019, equivalent to 3.63 million MT. However, only 2,317 SPSIC arrived,  equivalent to 1.85 million MT.

This means that about 1,700 SPSIC, equivalent to 1.78 million MT were not used. There are 544 registered importers listed under the BPI.

“I already sent my memo to BPI to analyze why those who have been issued SPSIC until middle of last year failed to bring in those,” Dar said.

“We would like to strengthen the guidelines. There should be a timeline on the arrival of shipments,” he said.

Dar is appealing to traders to not apply in the meantime while the harvest season is ongoing.

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