DA, NFA to inspect rice imports in source countries

MANILAThe Department of Agriculture (DA) and National Food Authority (NFA) are set to form and deploy a technical team to inspect warehouses in countries from where the government and private rice traders import rice.

DA Secretary Emmanuel PiAol said the NFA Council approved the measure tightening the monitoring of imported rice and would ensure what enters the country is of good quality and free from infestation.

PiAol said the inspection would determine if the warehouses are sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance (SPS-IC)-compliant and rice are safe for human consumption.

"It will be a way of determining quality of rice we buy," PiAol said Monday at the ASEAN Agricultural Summit 2018 in Metro Manila.

He said the team will reject rice that would not meet government requirements or is infested with insects like weevil. He added the inspection will cover all rice shipments in the country, whether imported by the private sector or the government,

The implementation will commence with the country's next rice importation, he said.

Last month, the NFA Council approved the importation of rice totaling to 750,000 metric tons for sale nationwide at lower price to increase market availability of affordable rice.

The discovery of weevil or "bukbok" raised concern over some rice NFA imported this year. Weevils are naturally-occurring pests in rice, corn and palay stock and are transported across countries through trading, NFA said.

"NFA assures the public it follows international standards in good warehouse-keeping" and "certifies that only good-quality stocks fit for human consumption will come out of its warehouses for sale in the markets to final consumers," the agency said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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