AT least 12,417 metric tons of imported rice have arrived in the country, the first batch of importation for the staple food in 2023, according to the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI).
The BPI also said that the total imported grains in 2022 reached 3.8 million metric tons (MMT).
Based on the report of BPI, as of Jan. 5, 2023, at least 6,500 metric tons of the imported grains came from Thailand and 5,917 metric tons were sourced from Vietnam.
According to the BPI, the fresh rice imports were covered by at least nine sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPSICs).
The BPI added that total rice imports in 2022 reached 3,826,238 MT, more than double the total importation in 2019 of 1.857MMT.
The bulk or 83 percent of the rice importation in 2022 came from Vietnam with 3.178MMT. This was 817,789 MT or 26 percent bigger compared to the 2.4 MMT total imports from Vietnam in 2021.
The country's total importation in 2022 was 1.05MMT or 28 percent bigger compared to the 2.8MMT rice imports in 2021.
Other sources of rice importation last year included Myanmar, 244,738 MT; Pakistan, 198.912 MT; Thailand, 183,230 MT; India, 10,095 MT; China, 9,328 MT; Singapore, 822 MT; Korea, 400 MT, Japan, 303 MT; and Spain, 4.96 MT.
Agriculture Undersecretary Mercedita Sombilla had said the DA expects 2.5 MMT of rice imports in 2023, lower than last year's 3.8 MMT.
Sombilla blamed the typhoons that hit the country in 2022 for the spike in the rice imports.
She added that the BPI was tasked to manage the issuance of SPSICs under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).
According to Sombilla, the DA targets 20 million metric tons of local palay production in 2023.
According to Sombilla, a big chunk of the budget for 2023 will be for the subsidy for the farmers.
For his part, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa attributed the decline in palay production to the increase in the cost of farm inputs, particularly fertilizer.
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