As low prices beset local farmers, PH expected to import more rice
The Philippines is expected to produce less and import more rice this year, according to an international report.
Based on a report by the United States Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Services (USDA-FAS), the Philippines would likely increase its rice imports this year to 3 million metric tons (MT) from 2.9 million MT in 2019.
Milled rice production, on the other hand, was expected to decrease to 11 million MT from 11.9 million MT last year.
The projections ran counter to USDA-FAS’s report last month, where it stated that the country’s rice imports could decline to 2.2 million MT amid improving local production.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar had also said they were gunning for a record high palay production of 22.12 million MT this year, which may translate to 13.72 million MT of rice.
Amid the conflicting estimates provided by the USDA and the Department of Agriculture on rice production and imports, industry groups were more worried about another issue—the low farm gate prices of palay.
According to the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, the average farm gate price of palay is currently at P14 a kilo on average and not P18 a kilo as stated by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The group said data from the PSA was inaccurate, noting there were no surveys conducted in rice-producing areas.
They said it was a worrying trend for farmers given that the harvest season is still a month away. Low prices are a major disincentive for palay producers. INQ
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