By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Philippines is expected to suffer the steepest decline in rice production this year and in 2021 among rice producers, but it could get by with having the largest amount of rice imports to augment local supply of the staple food, according to the latest Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) forecast of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) showed.
For the market year 2020 to 2021, the GAIN report showed that global rice production will rise amid larger crops in China, Southeast Asia, and the United States.
Global trade, too, is forecast up at the third largest volume, with Philippines still maintaining its status as the world’s largest rice importer.
“Global rice area is forecast to rise in 2020 to 2021. Area expansion is primarily based on resumption of planting in previously dry areas of Southeast Asia, more early-crop planting in China, and a substantial rebound in the United States. Yield is forecast to rise marginally. Production is up by more than 8 million tons to a new record,” USDA said.
“The largest production declines are forecast in Brazil and the Philippines, although these are relatively modest,” it added.
In terms of production, the GAIN report expects the Philippines to produce 11.4 million metric tons (MT) of rice this year and 11 mil¬lion MT next year, while consumption is seen at 14.3 million MT this year and 14.5 million MT next year.
Hence, there is a need for more rice importation. For this year, the country’s rice imports could hit 2.5 million MT, increasing to 3.3 million MT in 2021.
“With lower production and tighter stocks, larger imports are expected to enable consumption to rise marginally,” the USDA said.
“The 2019 Rice Tariffication Law has made imports more available in the market, depressing overall milled rice prices,” it added.
Meantime, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is targeting palay output of as much as 22.12 million MT, equivalent to 13.51 million MT of rice.
At the same time, it also gave the recommendation for the government-to-government importation of 300,000 MT of rice, the process for which has already started.
Raul Montemayor, national manager of Federation of Free Farmers (FFF), warned that the simultaneous expansion of both imports and local production will only lead to depressed farmgate prices.