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Business

Additional 1.3-M MT rice imports loom in H1

Kathleen A. Martin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The government may import another 1.3 million metric tons of rice in the first half of next year to plug a possible supply gap due to the lingering effects of El Niño and recent typhoons.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the initial assessment would be on top of the planned 500,000-metric ton (MT) rice shipment in the first quarter of 2016. Balisacan is a member of the National Food Authority (NFA) Council, which has the authority to approve rice importations.

Balisacan said the National Economic and Development Authority submitted an El Niño roadmap draft to President Aquino on Wednesday and this contained plans to import more rice to ensure adequate supply of the commodity.

“Because of Typhoon Lando and the El Niño in many areas of the country, the supply would be very much constrained in the second quarter,” Balisacan said.

“To get our supply to a comfortable level so that we have enough stock and ensure that prices would not jump up sharply… our recent assessment is that we would probably have about 1.3 million MT (in additional rice imports) but that’s not final,” he said.

The new figure is more than the one million MT additional rice imports he estimated last month.

Balisacan stressed the Department of Agriculture has yet to complete an assessment of the situation, particularly, the extent of the damage of the El Nino and recent typhoons, and the farmer’s planting intentions.

NEDA and the Agriculture department, then would have to review both studies and resubmit a roadmap to the President, he said.

The Philippines approved this year the importation of 1.8 million MT of rice, slightly higher than the 1.7 million MT in 2014.

Meanwhile, domestic rice stock inventory as of October remains sufficient for 65 days with stocks in government depositories seen to last for 22 days, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported yesterday.

Out of the country’s total rice stock inventory of 2.20 million metric tons (MT), 35.4 percent were held in households, 30.3 percent were held in commercial warehouses, while 34.3 percent were held in the depositories of the National Food Authority (NFA).

The total rice inventory would be sufficient for 65 days. Stocks held in households would be sufficient for 23 days, those held in commercial warehouses would last for 20 days while those held in NFA depositories would be sufficient for 22 days.

The total rice stock inventory of 2.20 million MT as of October was 21.7 million higher than 1.81 million MT in October 2014, and 12.3 percent higher than the previous month’s inventory of 1.96 million MT.

Year-on-year rice stocks in commercial warehouses and NFA depositories rose by 27.6 percent and 67.6 percent respectively. Stock levels in households, however, fell by 6.8 percent.

Month-on-month, stock levels held in households and in commercial warehouses rose by 36.1 percent and 14.5 percent respectively. On the other hand, stocks in NFA depositories  with 91.5 percent imported rice, fell by 6.2 percent.

The government maintains that stocks remain sufficient despite the occurrence of a weather disturbance recently.

Set for arrival before the end of the year are 250,000 metric tons (MT) of imported rice for buffer stocking. Contracted for arrival in the first quarter of the year are 500,000 MT.

The multi-agency Food Security Committee (FSC) is eyeing the importation of an additional one million MT next year to blunt the effect of the prevailing dry spell to supply and prices.

ACIRC

ATILDE

BALISACAN

BECAUSE OF TYPHOON LANDO AND THE EL NI

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

EL NI

EL NINO

MILLION

NATIONAL FOOD AUTHORITY

PERCENT

RICE

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