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24 April 2010

Philippines considering importing more rice

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Philippine government is importing 3.26 million metric tons (MT) of rice this crop year — 365,000 MT more than originally planned — to ensure a 90-day inventory amid the persistent El Niño-induced drought, reported GMANews.TV.

The state has imported 2.45 million MT so far, so there is still a balance of 815,000 MT.

The Philippines, the world’s biggest rice importer, earlier planned to import 2.9 million MT, but the volume was increased given the persistent dry spell, said an Agriculture official who did not wish to be named.

The agency noted that while an additional volume of 955,000 MT might be needed to ensure a 90-day stock, this would likely be brought in as part of the 2010/2011 crop year requirements.

The government placed the end-June stock at 2.31 million MT, good for 64 days only based on a daily average requirement of 36,200 MT.

Output for the first half is expected to be 1.72 percent lower than the year-ago level. Insufficient rainfall and low dam levels due to El Niño will likely lead to only 1,900 hectares of harvest areas — 2.36 percent or 46 hectares fewer than a year earlier.

The report hinted of increased yield level, but it will not be enough to offset the large cut in the area harvested.


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