The Philippine government said Wednesday that it will purchase 800,000 metric tons (MT) of imported rice via a tender set on April 15. The Philippines is racing to boost its stockpile to stabilize rice prices and to ensure that the country will have enough stocks during the wet season, when the country is usually visited by strong typhoons. State-run National Food Authority (NFA) said the bidding will be open to all qualified private and government-backed rice suppliers. NFA spokesman Rex Estoperez said the government would require successful bidders to deliver imported rice in four tranches between April and August. The government was forced to import more rice this year after typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) destroyed rice farmlands in central Philippines and forced the Department of Agriculture to push back its target of attaining rice self-sufficiency. Last year, the country's unmilled rice production grew by 2.27 percent on year to 18.44 million metric tons. Following the onslaught of typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines had announced the importation of an additional 500,000 metric tons of rice from Vietnam.