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Philippines may import 800,000 tons of Vietnamese rice in Dec.


15:55, November 17, 2011

MANILA, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government may import as much as 800,000 metric tons of milled rice mostly from Vietnam to beef up local stocks during the lean months next year.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said Thursday the government may start asking for bidders next month after the National Food Authority (NFA) Council has concluded its meeting on the volume and process for importing rice.

"The NFA council will meet (possibly) by the end of the month. We will have to collectively agree on the volume and timing. But once we have decided on the volume, we can already start the bidding by December," he said.

Alcala said the imports will have to come in before the start of the lean months in July next year.

The third quarter is the lean season for Philippine rice production owing to strong typhoons that destroy farmlands.

The Philippines is the world's biggest rice importer. In 2011, the country imported 860,000 tons of milled rice, mostly from Vietnam.

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