Philippines overstocked with rice

The Philippines, which has been the world's biggest rice importer in recent years, is now overstocked with the grain and will likely cut overseas orders dramatically, the government said Tuesday.

National Food Authority (NFA) chief Lito Banayo said import orders by the previous administration had been extremely excessive, and hinted that corrupt officials may have been responsible.

"Our warehouses are filled. We are swimming in rice," Banayo told reporters at the presidential palace.

"I don't want to judge my predecessors. Whether culpability lies in incompetence or something worse, which is... corruption, the figures speak for themselves."

His remarks came after President Benigno Aquino said in a speech before Congress on Monday that the NFA had imported too much rice since 2004, with some of the grain left rotting in warehouses.

Aquino's criticism was part of a blistering condemnation of his predecessor, Gloria Arroyo, who he replaced on June 30.

Banayo, who was chosen by Aquino to head the NFA, said that because of the over-supply the delivery of 150,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam had been pushed back from April to September.

The Philippines ordered 2.4 million tonnes of rice from abroad in 2009 but most of it was due for delivery in 2010, according to the NFA.

He said the government would likely cut imports next year if local rice production was strong.

"If we don't have a big storm, we will lower significantly our importation for next year," he said.

He reiterated Aquino's objective of achieving self-sufficiency in rice, describing it as "a national security issue".

Banayo said the excessive imports of recent years had pushed up the price of rice in the world market and left the NFA with a debt of 177 billion pesos (3.8 billion dollars).

Banayo said he ordered an audit to find the cause of the over-supply, and that he had asked Justice Department investigators to probe the orders.

Arroyo's former agriculture secretary, Arthur Yap, on Tuesday denied charges of excess imports, saying in television interviews that many government agencies were consulted before deciding how much rice to buy.

strs-mm/kma/dan

 

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

    £15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

    Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

    £11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

    £15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

    Day In a Page

    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water