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May 2024

PH rice imports unlikely to hit 4 MMT

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said the country’s rice imports for this year were unlikely to reach the 4 million metric tons (MMT) forecast of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said during a public briefing on Thursday that local production for the first quarter of 2024 was projected at 4.78 MMT, somewhat similar to last year’s production.

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“The estimate of the USDA might be a bit high and I think that’s the worst-case scenario… I think we won’t reach that point,” said Tiu Laurel.

The Agriculture chief said that estimates of the Philippine Statistics Authority and Philippine Rice Research Institute both showed that the country’s rice production was set to increase by 1.1 percent.

“Our production [this quarter] is almost similar from last year, that is a little higher in the first quarter, [production] for the second quarter might be affected by El Niño,” Tiu Laurel added.

Data from the Bureau of Plant Industry showed that the country’s volume of imported rice rose to 995,841.6 MT for the January to March 2024 period.

The latest figure was 24.2 percent higher in comparison to last year’s 801,732 MT import volume.

In 2023, inbound shipments of the staple totaled 3.6 million MT, down 5.9 percent from the record-high 3.82 MMT logged in 2022.

The USDA said that the Philippines’ local rice production could hit 12.125 MMT this year due to increased funding from the government and farmers’ increased use of fertilizer and hybrid seeds.

In terms of rice prices, Tiu Laurel said that these remained stable at $700 per ton. And with the current El Niño weather pattern, he said that prices were not seen to decline “as of the moment.”

Price monitoring report of the department as of April 3, 2024, showed that prices of imported well-milled rice ranged from P51 to P54 per kilo, while local milled rice is sold from P48 to P59 per kilo. QR Code

Published Date: April 5, 2024

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