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More rice imports seen next year

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is expected to import more rice next year as local production will still not be able to cover the national demand for the country’s main staple, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

In the latest report of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the Philippines will likely import 1.7 million metric tons (MT) of rice next year, up by more than 50 percent from the projected 1.1 million MT this year.

This year’s rice import level is also higher by 38 percent from the 800,000 MT that entered the country a year ago.

The higher importation is expected as production of milled rice next year is projected to decline by four percent to 11.2 million MT.

USDA said there may be contraction in area planted as rice areas may decline five percent to 4.5 million hectares despite yield slightly improving at 3.95 MT per hectare.

Local corn production may slightly improve by 2.5 percent to reach 8.3 million MT.  This can be attributed to the increase in area planted at 2.7 million hectares and better yield at 3.07 MT per hectare, compared to the 2.68 million hectares and 3.02 MT per hectare yield, respectively.

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The Philippine Statistics Authority earlier reported that the Philippines was slowly decreasing its dependency on imported rice after declining five percent last year.

Import dependency ratio of rice in the country abruptly decreased to 4.99 percent in 2016 from 11.07 percent in 2015.

Rice imports fell 54.7 percent to $278.87 million last year. In terms of volume, shipments went down 58.87 percent to 609,360 MT.

The country’s self-sufficiency ratio of rice increased to 95.01 percent from 2015’s ratio of 88.93 percent.

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