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April 2024

Philippines gears up for 500k MT rice imports amid El Niño impact

yellow green rice field

MANILA (ANN/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER) – The Philippines is set to receive an influx of almost 500,000 metric tonnes (MT) of imported rice between this month and February next year, the Department of Agriculture (DA) revealed on Wednesday.

This strategic move aims to bolster local inventory in response to the dry spell induced by the El Niño phenomenon.

Specifically, 76,000 MT of rice shipments from Taiwan and India are anticipated to reach the country by early January. Taiwan has already delivered 20,000 bags of rice, equivalent to 1,000 MT, before Christmas—a generous contribution comprising half of the 40,000 bags donated by the Taiwanese government.

Another 75,000 MT of rice from India is scheduled for delivery from the last week of December to early January. This forms part of the 295,000 MT of rice committed by the Indian government to the Philippines under a prior agreement.

The Philippines secured the largest share from India, which, in July, disclosed plans to export 1.03 million MT of non-basmati white rice to seven countries, including Nepal, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of Guinea, Malaysia, and Seychelles.

Although the Department of Agriculture did not divulge details about other shipments, Agriculture Undersecretary Roger Navarro emphasised that the impending importation of nearly 500,000 MT of rice would adhere to standard importation rules and incur a 35 per cent import duty.

Navarro noted that the country would have enough supply until the next harvest season begins in March with the arrival of the imported rice and the harvest by farmers in recent months.

The DA pegged national rice consumption at 36,000 MT a day or about 1.08 million MT a month.

As of Dec. 14, the country has imported 3.22 million MT of rice this year, based on data from the Bureau of Plant Industry.

Vietnam accounted for 2.81 million MT or 87.3 percent of the total, while India exported only 13,735 MT.

Under Executive Order (EO) No 50 signed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr on December 22, the tariff rate on rice was retained at 35 per cent until the end of 2024.

The President signed the order to keep food prices stable amid the ongoing El Niño phenomenon, the continuing prevalence of African swine fever (ASF), and the trade restrictions imposed by some countries.

The EO noted the current economic condition warranted the implementation of lowered tariff rates to maintain affordable prices, manage inflationary pressures, help augment the supply of agricultural commodities, and diversify market sources. QR Code

Published Date: December 28, 2023

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