MANILA – The Department of Agriculture in the Philippines has put forth a recommendation. They propose the importation of approximately 500,000 metric tonnes of rice. Why? To counter the expected crop deficits caused by the El Nino dry spell, stated a high-ranking official this Wednesday, Aug 16.
As one of the world’s leading rice consumers, the Philippines plans for private traders to carry out this added importation. Agriculture undersecretary, Mercedita Sombilla, has given a timeline during a recent congressional hearing. The rice must reach the Philippines’ shores between November of this year and January of the next.
It’s essential to note that this proposed volume comes over and above other sanctioned rice purchases for this year by private traders. A shipment of 300,000 metric tonnes of rice is slated for arrival later in August. Simultaneously, an equal amount, another 300,000 metric tonnes, will make its way in September.
Where does most of this rice originate? Sombilla points out an interesting fact. A whopping 89% of the rice that the Philippines has imported this year is from Vietnam. However, other contributing nations include Myanmar, Thailand, Pakistan, and India.
There’s more news from the rice market. Retail prices have seen a surge this month. Both imported and local rice varieties in the Philippines have recorded an increase. Some prices have risen by a notable 14%, based on the data from the government. This spike results from the rocketing global and local farmgate prices, further intensifying the strain on food inflation rates.
But why this sudden need to reinforce rice stocks? The looming El Nino weather condition is the culprit. The government anticipates a palpable dent in agricultural production due to El Nino. Experts predict this impact to span from the last quarter of this year to the initial three months of 2024.
As the El Nino shadow approaches, the Philippines stands prepared. With its proactive rice import strategy, the nation aims to ensure food security for its citizens. It remains to be seen how these moves impact the global rice market and the broader spectrum of international trade.
This news coverage is based on information from The Star.