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Rice tariff collections soar by 60% to P11 billion

Workers unload sacks of rice from a delivery truck along Dagupan Street in Tondo, Manila on January 22, 2024.

MANILA, Philippines — The state’s tariff collections from rice imports soared by 60 percent to over P11 billion in the first quarter on the back of higher import volume and declared value of shipments.

Preliminary data from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) showed that rice tariff collections amounted to P11.461 billion from January to March, about P4.3 billion higher than the P7.159 billion in the same period in 2023.

BOC data showed that rice imports during the quarter jumped by 42 percent to 1.14 million metric tons from last year’s 805,675 MT.

The declared value of rice imports averaged $511.53 per MT, almost 43 percent higher than the $357.82 per MT average price in the first quarter in 2023.

Global rice prices this year remain elevated as a result of a tight world market supply triggered by India’s export ban on non-basmati rice worsened by the effects of El Niño in rice-producing countries.

The World Bank has projected that rice prices would increase by eight percent this year due to tight global market supply underpinned by India’s continued export restrictions.

The average foreign exchange rate in the first quarter also contributed to the higher tariff collections as peso depreciated by 1.64 percent to P55.9: $1 level from last year’s $55: $1, based on BOC data.

With the rice tariff collections to date, the government will now have at least P1 billion to fund its financial assistance to rice farmers tilling two hectares and below next year.

Under existing rules and regulations, rice tariffs collected in excess of P10 billion would be used for the Department of Agriculture’s rice farmers financial assistance program wherein beneficiaries receive P5,000 each.

Rice tariff collections have been critical in bankrolling various government programs aimed at improving local farmers’ competitiveness after the state deregulated and liberalized the industry in 2019.

Rice tariff collections hit at least P29 billion in 2023. This would mean that some P19 billion would be distributed this year to rice farmers as financial assistance, based on existing rules and regulations.

The landed cost of rice, which includes the tariffs paid by importers, in the first quarter averaged at P38.84 per kilogram, almost 45 percent higher than the P26.8 per kilogram average price level last year, based on BOC data.

https://www.philstar.com/business/2024/05/02/2351863/rice-tariff-collections-soar-60-p11-billion QR Code

Published Date: May 2, 2024

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