PH set to remain biggest rice importer

Philippines seen to remain world’s biggest rice importer

MANILA — The Philippines is expected to increase its rice imports this year and next following the government’s move to reduce tariffs by 15 percent until 2028, thus retaining its standing as the leading rice importer in the world.

In a report, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service estimated that the country’s rice imports would reach 4.6 million metric tons (MT) in 2024.

That would be higher by about  27 percent than the 3.6 million MT of imported rice in 2023.


So far, the country has procured 2.17 million MT of imported rice as of June 6, mostly from Vietnam.


China was the biggest importer in 2021 and 2022, with the Philippines ranking second. The following year, however, the Philippines took over the top spot.

READ: PH inks 5-year rice importation deal with Vietnam

With the USDA’s projection, the country will retain the top spot, followed by Indonesia with 3.5 million MT.

The foreign agency also estimated the country’s rice imports in 2025 to reach 4.7 million MT, which meant the Philippines would likely retain the top spot for three consecutive years, based on USDA projections. Vietnam would be a distant second with 2.95 million MT.

Increasing rice consumption

Aside from lower tariffs, the upward revision in the USDA’s forecast is attributed to an expected increase in rice consumption.

READ: Marcos approves cut in rice tariff to 15%


Earlier, the National Economic and Development Authority board led by President Marcos said the tariff for rice imports would be slashed to 15 percent from 35 percent. This was included in the modified Comprehensive Tariff Program covering the years 2024 to 2028 aimed at keeping prices of major food products affordable for consumers.

The President, however, has yet to issue a fiat on the new tariff structure, which also covers other agricultural items such as meat.

The USDA said global rice production would slightly increase this year amid a bigger harvest from India. Worldwide rice stocks were expected to grow, “primarily on increases for the Philippines and Kenya.”

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“Total imports are estimated higher on increases for the Philippines, Kenya, and Iraq. Exports are up, driven by India, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Thailand,” the USDA noted.

TAGS: rice imports, USDA

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