Philippines to import 300,000 MT of rice
In a virtual briefing Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the DA expects about 200,000 to 300,000 MT of rice to arrive in the country for the rest of the year.
STAR/Boy Santos, file
Philippines to import 300,000 MT of rice
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - October 7, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The country is importing as much as 300,000 metric tons of rice until the end of the year, giving it a stable buffer stock by 2021.

In a virtual briefing Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the DA expects about 200,000 to 300,000 MT of rice to arrive in the country for the rest of the year.

Two million MT of rice had already entered the country so far this year.

“If that’s the case, by the end of the year, with local harvest and imports, we have a very rice secure country. We will have [supply] good for three months next year,” Dar said.

Given DA’s projection, total imports will likely reach 2.3 million MT next year. This is 23 percent lower than the three million MT recorded in 2019 and 12 percent below than the earlier projection of 2.6 million MT for this year.

This as local production is expected to improve this year and attain a record-high production of palay (unhusked rice) of 22.12 million. This represents an increase of 18 percent.

The expected higher production is anchored on the DA’s flagship Plant, Plant, Plant program aimed at expanding production areas, improving yields and ensuring availability of rice in the country.

Amid the drop in palay prices, Dar said the DA already appealed to traders and importers to not bring in rice while the harvest season is ongoing.

He said the DA could only do so much as the Rice Tariffication Law has virtually opened up the industry to unlimited imports of the country’s main staple.

“We appeal to traders to not take advantage of the pandemic and also allow farmers to earn this season. They should have the patriotism to help our farmers,” Dar said.

Dar also encouraged multinational companies to buy rice for their employees from farmer cooperatives and associations to help prop up farmgate prices.

RICE
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