NFA rice awaiting clearance at port
By Mar S. Arguelles LEGAZPI CITY --- Some 8,200 metric tons (164,000 bags) of imported rice from Thailand have arrived on Saturday, the National Food Authority in Bicol said on Tuesday. The shipment is awaiting clearance from customs and health authorities before they are unloaded at Tabaco City port, Nelsie Alcantara NFA Bicol spokesperson, said. MV Bravo, a cargo vessel from Thailand, with its shipload of rice, arrived at Tabaco port Saturday. It remains docked at about a hundred meters away from the port of Tabaco City pending clearance, Alcantara said. The NFA spokesperson said the rice shipment from Thailand would still undergo the normal quarantine inspections as well as customs and health procedures. Alcantara in a phone interview said the new shipment is part of the total 800,000 bags of imported rice to be unloaded here after they had undergone fumigation. Earlier, cargo shipment of 174,000 bags of imported Thailand rice on board MV Blue Emperor One was quarantined on August 17 after NFA inspectors discovered that the cargo was infested with rice bugs called “Red Rust beetle.” After undergoing almost 12 days of fumigation and aeration procedure, the cargo was then cleared for unloading starting yesterday, Aug. 29, Alcantara said. As for the newly arrived Thailand rice cargo, Alcantara said that as soon as clearance is secured from customs and quarantine authorities the shipper of the Thailand rice would be allowed to unload the cargo at the Tabaco Port. The 164,000 bags of imported Thailand rice would be distributed to the six Bicol provinces with Camarines Sur getting the biggest rice allocation of 41,000 bags, followed by Albay with 34,000 bags; Sorsogon with 17,000; Camarines Norte with 12,000 and 10,000 each for Catanduanes and Masbate.