Developing Countries Will Lead Global Rice Import Growth in 2013-22, Says USDA Rice growers positive California MG prices are UP Russia MG Harvest coming to end Egypt open rice exports Vietnam’s rice export in tough competition with India Thai rice exports in May Rise Above Target This Year Viet-Nam Rice exports likely to fall this year
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RP rice imports to cost us P12 billion
The government’s food security program will remain dependent on imports, with the plan to import some 700,000 metric tons (MT) to 900,000 MT of rice next year. The move may cost the cash-strapped government as much as P12.6 billion, the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations disclosed on Sunday. Liberal Party Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. of Camarines Sur said the information on the planned rice importation came from agriculture department officials, who testified last week before his committee to defend the department’s proposed 2005 budget. Andaya said that based on the official’s admission, the government will resort to importation next year to ensure a steady supply of rice in the market. This, despite a projected record-high palay harvest of 15.12 million MT in 2005. Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap told the panel that the total domestic palay production, which translates to about 9.8 million MT of rice when milled, cannot supply the needs of 88.2 million Filipinos next year. Andaya agreed with Yap, saying the “swelling population and static hectarage of riceland have conspired to make us partially dependent on rice imports.” “The average Filipino eats 105 kg of rice a year. If our population grows by 1.8 million a year, then we must increase our palay production by three million sacks of rice a year,” Andaya said. Agriculture officials told Andaya that the country’s topography is not really ideal for rice growing, unlike the wide deltas of countries in the Asian mainland like Vietnam and Thailand. Andaya said a solution to this is to construct irrigation systems that will boost rice production. The department has identified at least 1.7 million hectares of “irrigable” rice land. Andaya said, however, that the cost of irrigating this huge area is gargantuan—at P259 billion, as it costs P150,000 to irrigate a hectare. For next year, only P4.5 billion is earmarked for irrigation projects, not enough to quench the thirst of farmlands, Andaya said. He said that the government will resort to importation next year to stabilize the supply and price of rice. Agriculture officials have predicted that the price of rice in the world market next year would range from $225 to $250 per ton. If the local rice production will surpass expectations, some 700,000 MT, or even less, of rice would be imported next year. At $225 per ton, with a P56:US$1 exchange rate, the import bill will reach P8.8 billion. At a bigger import volume of 900,000 MT at $250 per ton, the government would have to cough up P12.6 billion for the imported rice.
MGR Archive 31.10.2004
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