Despite cut in volume, PH to remain world’s top rice importer | Inquirer Business
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Despite cut in volume, PH to remain world’s top rice importer

By: - Reporter / @kocampoINQ
/ 04:40 AM December 12, 2020

The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) decision to stop the issuance of rice import permits this year is expected to affect not only the country’s import level this year but even Vietnam’s rice stocks and prices.

According to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Global Agricultural Information Network, Philippine rice imports this year were expected to decline by 200,000 metric tons (MT) to 2.3 million MT from its earlier projection of 2.5 million MT.

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“Private sector imports in the Philippines have been stymied in recent months as the government stopped issuing new import permits with unrest in the farm sector,” it said.

Similarly, prices of rice from Vietnam—one of the world’s biggest exporter of rice—settled at $491 a ton. The Philippines sources most of its rice stocks from its Southeast Asian neighbor that its reduced demand for the staple also affected global prices.

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Despite the contraction, the Philippines is again poised to remain the world’s biggest trader of rice this year.

Last month, Agriculture Secretary William Dar announced that the Bureau of Plant Industry would not issue import permits anymore for the rest of the year, noting that the country’s current inventory was more than enough to meet the requirement.

Like the USDA, the DA is also expecting the country’s rice imports to settle at 2.3 million MT.

Several calls have been made by industry groups to put a halt on rice importation, stressing that it has been adversely affecting domestic prices of palay.

Just last month, palay prices hit a low of P10.71 a kilogram—one of the lowest quotations in recent years—that prompted lawmakers to propose a new measure that would allow the excess in rice tariffs to be used for farmers’ cash aid.

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TAGS: Department of Agriculture, rice importation
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