August 13, 2014

13/08/2014: Philippines to import 1.3 million tonnes of rice

by DJ Yap, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Rice self-sufficiency is projected to reach 98 percent this year, better than last year, but government is poised to import 800,000 more million metric tons of rice than last year, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala told lawmakers on Wednesday.

This prompted Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares to comment that “the math doesn’t add up.”

In 2013, at a rice self-sufficiency accomplishment of 96 percent, the government imported only 500,000 metric tons of rice to fill the four percent gap.

“So why are we importing 1.3 million metric tons when rice self-sufficiency will improve to 98 percent this year?” asked Colmenares, the senior deputy minority leader.

To which Alcala replied: “This is the reality. We’re not looking at 1:1. 100 percent is 100 percent, but the NFA (National Food Authority) needs to have a buffer. We may have good production, but we have more expensive rice.”

“Our consumers will get angry,” he added, explaining that the average price of rice would shoot up unless the NFA had enough buffer stocks to help keep prices stable.

For 2014, Alcala said, demand was projected at 12.9 million tons, while total production of palay (unmilled rice) was projected at 19.06 million tons, which would yield 12.38 million tons of rice.

“We will reach between 96 and 98 percent rice self-sufficiency,” he said.

Read more HERE.

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