The Licensing Committee of Tafiff Rate Quotas has made two calls for imports of corn and rice, according to the requirements of the WTO.
A total volume of 150,000 metric tons of corn has been assigned, of which 149,000 tons correspond to corn for feed and 40 metric tons is finished product, reported Panamaamerica.com.pa.
In the case of rice, the total volume of permitted imports (period 15th February to 31st March 2012) is 9711.6 tons. From 15th May to 15th June 650,000 pounds of hulled rice and 650,000 quintals of unhusked rice will be imported.
Also to be imported are about 60 million quintals of beans in the coming months, since domestic production is not able to cover the country's consumption which is in the range of 120 million quintals for the category.
The fact that Panama is not self-sufficient in grain production, means that they have to import products like rice, corn and beans, which are essential to the basic food basket, every year.
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The first shipment of imported milled rice to meet domestic demand for August and September should arrive next week .
Millers, traders, consumers, agricultural authorities and rice growers agreed to import 1.3 million quintals of rice paddy in order to meet domestic demand and the shortfall in domestic production.
100,000 tons could be imported by the government to cover shortfalls in the coverage of domestic demand of about 3 million quintals.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (SIC in Spanish) is studying the import of 100,000 metric tons of unprocessed rice to cover the deficit recorded in the coverage of domestic demand, which could reach approximately 3 million quintals in 2012.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has authorized the duty free import of 4.980 metric tons of rice.
The move is in response to a deficit of 150,000 quintals in domestic production, due to poor production performance in the Colon area.
Freddy Torres, representing rice farmers said that the quota had been requested by them in the previous week, corresponding to 5% of the amount specified in the purchase and sale agreement of existing grains between the government and farmers.
The agri-industry is requesting an import quota of 660,000 quintals of rice, farmers will only accept 240,000.
The country's rice production will not be enough to meet demand, meaning that rice must be bought from abroad, creating rifts between producers and manufacturers about how much should be imported duty free.