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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  16 October  2015  

Rice imports may reach 1.5 million MT in H1 2016

The Philippines may import 1.5 million metric tons of rice in the first half of 2016 alone to mitigate the possible impact of El Niño on food supply.
An additional 1 million MT of rice imports are needed to maintain a 45-day buffer stock during the first half, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters late Monday, citing estimates by the inter-agency El Niño Task Force.
The National Food Authority (NFA) Council still needs to deliberate on this, the Cabinet official noted.
"It is not yet decided because this will be reassessed in November and December when we have better informed data and observations – info from the ground," Balisacan noted.
The inter-agency Food Security Council earlier gave the NFA the green light to import 500,000 MT of rice for the first quarter of 2016. This was also based on the recommendation of the El Niño Task Force headed by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
"The assumption is that, if the effect of the El Niño is going to be as bad as – at least in terms of production – in 1997 to 1998, then we will need to bring in an additional 1 million MT of rice," said Balisacan, who is also the NEDA director general.
Given its magnitude, the additional importation may require the approval of President Benigno Aquino III. The El Niño Task Force is arranging a meeting with the President this week to discuss the matter, Balisacan said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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