Philippines to remain as worldâs biggest rice importer
Based on the latest report of the United States Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Service, imports will slightly decline this year but will pick up next year.
Walter Bollozos
Philippines to remain as world’s biggest rice importer
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - August 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will still emerge as the world’s largest rice importer until 2021 with the expected decline in local production.

Based on the latest report of the United States Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Service, imports will slightly decline this year but will pick up next year.

This year’s rice imports are seen to reach 2.6 million metric tons, down 10 percent from a year ago.

For 2021, imports are expected to increase by 15 percent to three million MT. The USDA has already lowered the import projection for the Philippines from the earlier 3.3 million MT.

“Global trade is expected to contract with reduced imports by the Philippines, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire as major exporters Thailand, China and Vietnam face tighter supplies,” USDA said.

Next year, however, the Philippines will still be the top importer as China is expected to buy only 2.2 million MT.

The Rice Tariffication Law enacted last year has made imports more available in the market, depressing overall milled rice prices.

According to the USDA, farmers are likely to shift to other crops while others continue the trend of converting lands into other commercial purposes.

A year into rice tariffication, rice farmers are still struggling to compete with affordable imports from Southeast Asia although farm gate prices are now slowly recovering.

Milled rice production is forecast to improve to 11.9 million MT from last year’s 11.7 million MT as the government ramps up its Plant Plant Plant program amid the pandemic.

This, however, is seen to decrease to 11 million MT by 2021.

Rice area and yield are also expected to decline this year and in 2021 as some farmers decide to diversify their crops or convert lands to non-agricultural uses.

RICE
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