Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez has secured the commitment of Vietnam to provide the Philippines with a stable supply of rice at affordable prices in an affirmation of the strong friendly relations between the two countries.
This developed during Romualdez’s side meeting with Vuong Dinh Hue, president of the National Assembly of Vietnam on the eve of the formal opening of the 44th AIPA (ASEAN Parliamentary Assembly) general assembly in Jakarta, Indonesia on Sunday.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. earlier expressed concern over the country’s rice supply amid the widespread damage to farmlands caused recently by Typhoon Egay and the threat posed by El Niño phenomenon on rice production.
Similarly, the export ban imposed last July 20 by India–the world’s largest rice exporter—is expected to cause ripples in global rice prices that would affect millions of consumers, particularly in Africa and Asia.
Vietnam is traditionally the main source of Philippine rice imports but as other buyers crowd in, President Marcos said supply might become limited and the country may have to find an alternative supply source.
The Vietnamese assurance could help boost the country’s rice supply and dampen possible price spikes fueled by speculation over possible shortages.
Romualdez said the Philippines is willing to provide Vietnam with specific products and materials it may need to meet the demand of its industries or consumers.
He also told Hue that he is looking forward to broadening the areas of cooperation between the two countries, particularly between the respective parliaments and in the areas of energy transition and digital transformation.
The two leaders of parliament discussed opportunities for partnership and cooperation to improve the supply chain between the Philippines and Vietnam involving other agricultural products and construction materials, such as cement.
Hue invited Romualdez to visit Vietnam to reciprocate the warm reception he received from members of Congress during his visit to the Philippines in November last year.
In Thailand, the world’s second-largest rice exporter, the national water administration urged its farmers to reduce rice cultivation as part of efforts to conserve water
Rice prices have begun to surge as major producers such as India and Vietnam cut their exports. This could affect millions of consumers around the world with Asian and African countries expected to bear the brunt.
Also on Monday, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano urged government agencies, particularly the Department of Justice, to act decisively against rice smugglers following the President’s strong warning in his State of the Nation Address last month.
Source: Manila Standard