PH sees spike in rice import volumes in 2016
A PROPOSAL for the government to import up to 1.5 million tons on milled rice in 2016 may bring back inflows to a definite upturn following a seesaw of volumes in the previous four years.
Based on numbers from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the plan which the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) is pushing could bring import volumes closer to those during the global food price spike years that the Aquino administration had vowed to end.
Data from the PSA’s Selected Statistics on Agriculture report released last week showed rice import volume fell by 70 percent from 2.4 million tons in 2010 to 780,000 tons in 2011.
The volume jumped by 47 percent to 1.04 millions in 2012, and then fell again by 62 percent to 399,000 tons in 2013. Last year, rice imports surged anew 173 percent to 1.09 million tons.
Last week, Neda director general and Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan told reporters he would be pushing for larger rice imports next year, more than the 500,000 tons originally earmarked for the first quarter.
He said the 1.5 million tons would serve as buffer stock for the El Niño phenomenon.
The chief government economist’s drive would mean an increase in rice import volume for the second year, this time at about 50 percent.
Early in his tenure, the President vowed to bring the country to rice self-sufficiency.
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