For first time in 30 years, PHL exports 400MT of rice

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Friday, August 8, 2014

THE Philippines has exported 400 metric tons of high quality rice for the first time in 30 years, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Friday.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that the country has already exceeded earlier projections on the volume of premium rice the country can export.

"Ang amin pong naunang projection ay ang maka-export ng 100 metric tons of premium rice, but we have already exported 400 metric tons of premium rice—red rice, black rice and organic rice—and the year is not yet over," Alcala said.

He said that in the event the Philippines hit rice self-sufficiency and there is already adequate buffer stock, rice farmers will be encouraged to cultivate more premium rice for export.

According to Alcala, Hong Kong and Singapore have large requirements for premium rice but they do not have any production.

He added that it is a good sign that the country was finally able to export rice "because it has become somewhat embarrassing that for more than 30 years, we have been importing rice and among the world's top importers of rice."

Earlier the DA said the Philippines saved not less than P147 billion on rice importation from 2010 to 2013 because instead of buying rice from the Vietnamese and Thai neighbors, Filipino farmers had a good harvest and were able to meet part of the demand.

The country used to rely in imports to stabilize rice supply and price with an import dependency ratio of 13.57 percent from 2001-2010.

The DA noted that the past administration spent more in National Food Authority imports than in production support from 2001-2010—P105.6 billion for production compared to P292.5 billion for NFA imports, making production grow at a rate of only 2.27 percent or a little over 313,000 MT annually.

From 2008 to 2010, the amount paid for rice imports worth P176.18 billion was eight times the amount of P22.06 billion paid for the period 2011-2013. Payments for rice imports were 2.8 times the level of support for rice programs from 2001-2010.

This was reversed from 2011 to 2013 with support for local producers at 3.9 times that of payments for rice imports, which drove the farmers to deliver the performance in the last three years with a higher annual average growth rate of 5.37 percent, equivalent to 889, 029 MT, the DA said. (SDR/Sunnex)

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