The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) said the Philippines would likely import 1.2 million metric tons (MT) of rice in 2019.
Michael Varcas
‘Philippines to import 1.2 MT of rice in 2019’
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - September 14, 2018 - 12:00am

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

The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) said the Philippines would likely import 1.2 million metric tons (MT) of rice in 2019.

The USDA increased next year’s rice imports from the earlier projection of 1.1 million MT following reduced crop estimates.

“Global consumption is forecast slightly higher, particularly for India. Global trade is raised slightly with higher imports forecast for Venezuela and the Philippines,” it said.

The USDA’s projection is still subject to changes, especially as the Philippine government has yet to finalize the quantitative restrictions on imported rice.

Production of milled-rice next year is seen to increase by 0.5 percent to 12.3 million MT from the expected 12.23 million MT this year.

The USDA said there may be slight improvements in area planted as rice areas in 2019 will be at 4.87 million hectares, slightly higher than the 4.84 million hectares this year.

But the stagnant growth in yield at 4.01 MT per hectare will unlikely hike production next year.

The USDA estimates that local rice consumption next year would increase slightly by 1.5 percent to 13.35 million MT, from 13.2 million MT this year.

In terms of ending stocks, the USDA said the Philippines would likely end 2018 with a carryover volume of 2.5 million MT for 2019.

Meanwhile, local corn production may go up by four percent to reach 8.3 million MT from the expected production this year of 7.98 million MT.

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said the delayed issuance of import permits have prevented them from immediately releasing the rice shipments from the ports. 

He said the Bureau of Customs should not be blamed for the high rice prices.  – With Evelyn Macairan

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