2021 rice production hits target
Filipino farmers in Palay stand to benefit from the traditional increase in rice consumption during the election season and increased logistics costs that may discourage importing the staple food, international research has shown.
In a report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS) said these factors could allow the Philippines to meet its goal of producing 20.4 million metric tonnes of palay this year against the harvest. record 19.4 million tonnes last year.
He noted that strong pressure from the Ministry of Agriculture (DA) to use hybrid palay seeds could help improve yields that would offset the decline in the area planted with palay.
USDA-FAS has forecast a 100,000-tonne increase in the country’s milled rice production this year, even with the expected decline in planted area of 500,000 hectares. Regarding consumption, the USDA-FAS raised its forecast by 100,000 MT “to account for population growth and traditionally higher consumption during an election year.”
Another factor that should encourage Palay farmers to plant and produce more is the increased logistics costs for shipping rice to the Philippines. With this, the recent tariff cuts on rice imports did not appear to be a sufficient incentive for traders to increase their imports.
Based on USDA-FAS data, importers’ requests for sanitary and phytosanitary import authorizations between January and May of this year were 38 percent lower than the same period last year, despite an executive order from President Duterte lowering rice tariffs to 35 percent. from a high of 50 percent.
In the first quarter, Palay farmers harvested a total of 4.63 million tonnes, up 9 percent from last year’s level and also above the record harvest of 2018.
The Philippines Statistics Authority has yet to resume releasing its weekly palay and rice price monitoring reports, but industry sources said palay prices have been favorable.
It remains to be seen how the lean season between July and September would affect palay prices, given the expected liberalization of rice imports during this period. INQ
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