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Flour output seen going up by 10%

MANILA, Philippines - Flour production this year is expected to be 10 percent higher than the two million metric tons produced last year, according to Ric Pinca of the Philippine Association of Flour Millers (PAFMIL).

Flour production in 2009 was also around 10 percent higher than the 2008 flour production of just 1.92 million metric tons (MMT).

Even with the expected 10 percent increase in flour production, Pinca said most of the flour millers would be operating at 50 percent below their capacity which is rated at four milion metric tons.

“So, just at two million, there is not much profitability this year,” Pinca said, adding that the local flour industry is hoping to improve its production by convincing more Filipinos to consume more bread and shift away from rice.

Shifting to bread, Pinca said, would also ease pressure on rice.

The Philippines is basically a rice-eating country and because of strong demand, the country has become the world’s biggest importer of rice.

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This year rice imports are expected to exceed two million.

But while most Filipinos are not bread eaters, there has been a noticeable increase in the consumption of instant noodles which is also made from flour. – Marianne Go

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