NFA rice shipment cleared by quarantine bureau

MANILA The unloading of rice imported by the National Food Authority has resumed in the Port of Tabaco in Albay after the Plant Quarantine Service of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) in Region V declared the shipment free of weevil infestation.

The greenlight to resume the discharging of the rice shipment was issued by Danilo Doblon, Regional Manager of Plant Quarantine Service.

The BPI issued the clearance after conducting a thorough inspection, examination and sensory evaluation of the samples taken from the three holds of the vessel, M/V Emperor I.

The rice shipment was subjected to a 12-day fumigation process after NFA Quality Assurance Officers discovered that 177,000 bags of the 200,000 bags allocated for the Bicol region were infested with weevils. The imported rice from Thailand arrived in the Port of Tabaco on August 17.

The unloading of the 177,000 bags rice commenced last September 1.

As of September 5, a total of 59,308 bags were already delivered in the agency's warehouses in Bicol. But due to the inclement weather in the province, discharging of the rice shipment is slowed down.

NFA Administrator Jason Aquino said the agency did not spend a single centavo in the treatment of the infested stocks because they are not yet NFA-owned.

The supplier shouldered the cost of fumigation. As stipulated in the contract, the rice stocks are only considered government owned once they are delivered in the NFA warehouses and there is final acceptance based on quality specifications.

Meanwhile, the 132,400 bags rice shipment from Thailand aboard MV Gazi docked in Subic Bay Freeport found to be infested also with weevils are still undergoing treatment.

The infested stocks are expected to be cleared and declared as "fit for human consumption" by BPI after its treatment on September 10.

We are working double time to fast track the unloading and delivery of rice to ensure the continuous and uninterrupted supply of the low-priced NFA rice in the market to help our marginalized consumers cope with the rising cost of basic commodities. We are also putting up more outlets nationwide and implementing several rice distribution strategies to make the PHP27 and PHP32 per kilogram NFA rice more accessible and available to them, Aquino said. (NFA PR)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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