The Department of Agriculture (DA) last week announced that it has imposed more stringent guidelines on the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance (SPS-IC) to traders.
The measure aims to control spiking rice imports now flooding the local markets as a result of the Rice Tariffication Law.
At the sidelines of the recent 11th World Rice Conference, Agriculture Secretary William Dar confirmed he has signed a memorandum mandating the stricter guidelines.
“I made sure that the memo was signed so that the bulk of imported rice would not arrive in time of the main harvest season,” Dar said, while noting that it would otherwise further depress farmgate prices of palay or unhusked rice.
Dar said the volume of rice allowed to enter the country sharply dropped in October this year following the imposition of stricter sanitary and phytosanitary requirements on imported grains.
Rice importation volume, he pointed out, reached 85,000 metric tons in October from a monthly average of 254,000 MT in the first nine months of the year.