Philippine rice imports seen to rise post-Typhoon Karding | Inquirer Business

Philippine rice imports seen to rise post-Typhoon Karding

The Philippines is seen to import more rice to make up for local supply shortfall as steep fertilizer prices force farmers to plant less rice, a staple food of Filipinos.

The US Department of Agriculture, in its latest report, raised its import forecast for the Philippines to 3.4 million metric tons from 3.3 million MT for market year 2022-2023 which began in July this year.

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“Rice is a highly political crop in the Philippines, and supply sufficiency is very important for the government. Lower income consumers can subsist even on rice with minimal viands (simple side dishes or minimal flavorings that accompany rice),” the USDA said.

It said soaring fertilizer prices resulting in significantly reduced application and the severe impact of SuperTyphoon Karding would lower the yield of local rice producers.

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“Data from the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority show fertilizer prices have increased significantly, although urea prices have tapered off a bit since May 2022,” it added.

Latest figures from the FPA showed urea (prilled) fertilizer as of Sept. 26 to 30 was priced at P2,523.08 per 50-kilo bag, up from P1,531.78 per 50-kilo bag in the same period last year.

The USDA also lowered its Philippine rice production estimate for the comparative period to 11.98 million metric tons from 12.41 million MT previously.

PH target

For 2022, the country is targeting to reach rice output of 20.25 million MT, higher than last year’s record high of 19.96 million MT.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) reported Karding’s damage to the agriculture sector as of Monday at P3.12 billion. The rice sector alone accounted for P2.05 billion of the recorded losses, with the volume of production loss estimated at 134,205 MT of rice spanning 163,162 hectares of farm lands.

Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said last month that retail prices of food items, especially rice and vegetables, could rise by 15 to 20 percent as the rice-producing region of Central Luzon bore the brunt of the typhoon.

Despite this, the DA official assured the public of sufficient stockpile of rice for the coming holiday season.

“While all of the remaining issued import clearances by the Bureau of Plant Industry will only be valid until the third quarter and imports are yet to be estimated on the last quarter of this year, based on historical trend, import arrivals start to decline by the fourth quarter in time for the peak harvest from October to November,” the DA had said.

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TAGS: Agriculture, forecast, rice imports, USDA
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