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Global rice trade turns bleak as PH eases imports

DA stands by claim of attaining local food security by end-2013
/ 08:18 PM September 22, 2013

The projected growth of the global rice trade for 2013 remains negative while that for 2014 is anemic, both partly due to the easing of Philippine importation.

Based on the latest Rice Outlook report of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS), global trade for this year was raised by 200,000 tons to 38.3 million—still 2 percent lower than the volume recorded in 2012.

The ERS report is updated every month, and the latest was issued last week.


This update was partially affected by a revision of the Philippines’ importation data, which was lowered by 500,000 tons to one million tons.

This revision is based on the recommendation “from the USDA Office in Manila, and a much slower than expected delivery pace so far this year,” the report said.

As for next year, the ERS said the global rice trade volume could be 350,000 tons higher than that contained in the forecast made last August.

This brings the expected volume for 2014 to 39 million tons—about 700,000 tons, or 1.8 percent, greater than the forecast volume for 2013.

According to the ERS, one of the factors that dampened next year’s data again is the downward revision of forecast for Philippine importation.

“The Philippines’ 2014 import forecast was lowered 100,000 tons to 1.1 million based on recommendation from the USDA Office in Manila and a weaker 2013 import forecast,” the agency said.

For this year and the next, the ERS is looking at strong demand from China, Iran, Iraq and West Africa. The ERS said the countries could be the main drivers of global rice trade.

Earlier, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala expressed confidence that the Aquino administration can achieve its target of rice self-sufficiency by this year.


Alcala, however, said that this would not necessarily mean an end to importation, although inbound shipment volumes have dropped in the past three years.

Following a visit to Isabela province last week, the agriculture chief said farmers there expected a bumper harvest over the next few weeks despite the heavy rains last month.

Alcala said that in September alone, Isabela farms may harvest an initial 167,700 metric tons of palay, representing about three-fifths of the expected 264,700 metric tons of harvest in the Cagayan Valley for the third quarter.

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