446,858 MT of rice imports enters PH so far as of February

Published March 5, 2021, 7:30 AM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

As much as 446,858 metric tons (MT) of cheaper, imported rice had so far entered the country this year, data from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) showed.

Based on the latest data from BPI, as many as 372 Sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance (SPS-IC) were already used so far for this year. Of this, 346 were used in January and 126 in February.

Agriculture Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan said that for this year, the Philippines, through the private sector, may need to import as much as 1.69 million MT of rice in order the fulfill the country’s demand.

In 2020, the country’s total rice imports stood at 2.07 million MT, which is higher compared to the 1.86 million MT that entered the country in the same period in 2019.

Of the total rice imports last year, 1.79 million MT came from Vietnam, making the Southeast Asian nation the Philippines’ top supplier of imported rice for several years now.

In January, Cayanan said that the move of Vietnam to import rice may push rice prices higher on the local front.

He also said that this will “not only have implication in the Philippines but also the entire world market”.

“90 percent of our imported rice comes from Vietnam [so definitely] the price [of the staple] will increase,” Cayanan said in an earlier report.

“Aside from the Philippines, a lot of other countries also buy from Vietnam,” he added.  

For this year, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is targeting local palay production of about 20.4 million MT, which is higher than the expected palay yield of 19.44 million MT in 2020.

For this quarter, in particular, local palay output is seen at 4.8 million MT, while about 3.9 million MT is targeted for the second quarter.