PH set to dominate global rice imports in 2024 — USDA report

By: Jordeene B. Lagare - @inquirerdotnetINQUIRER.net | January 21,2024 - 09:59 AM

Piles of rice sacks

NOT UNLIMITED RICE | Farmworkers store newly harvested rice during the supply crunch last year. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is expected to be the world’s leading rice importer in 2024, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA projects that the Philippines will procure a record 3.8 million metric tons of rice this year. This surpasses the estimated global rice trade of 52.2 million metric tons, which is slightly lower than the previous year’s 52.4 million metric tons.

The Philippines’ rice imports are anticipated to outpace those of China, Indonesia, the European Union, Nigeria, and Iraq.

The report largely attributed the “substantial decline” in overall rice trade and the “small projected decreases” this year to export bans implemented by India between 2022 and 2023.

“On an annual basis, Brazil, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique, North Korea, Singapore, Tanzania, Togo, and Vietnam account for the bulk of the projected decline in global rice imports in 2024,” it said.

Increased imports

Asian countries China, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines are seen to increase imported rice purchases.

Likewise, Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, Iran, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mexico, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Yemen are expected to procure more rice.

In the previous year, the Philippines imported 3.6 million MT of rice, down by 5.9 percent from 3.8 million MT in 2021, based on the data from the Bureau of Plant Industry.

Vietnam accounted for 3 million MT of the total while Thailand and Myanmar exported 344,514.10 MT and 151,183.00 MT to the country.

The agency also said the Philippines bought 56,090.63 MT as of Jan. 11 this year, mostly from Vietnam, the country’s leading source of imported rice over the past years.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said earlier nearly 500,000 MT of imported rice would be arriving until February to boost local inventory in the face of the dry spell brought about by the El Niño phenomenon.

Taiwan shipped 20,000 bags of rice (equivalent to 1,000 MT) before Christmas last year while India would provide 75,000 MT, according to the agency.

Sufficient supply

India’s shipment was part of the 295,000 MT of rice earmarked by the Indian government despite its export ban on non-basmati white rice.

Agriculture OIC Undersecretary Roger Navarro had said the country would have enough supply until the next harvest season begins in March with the arrival of the imported rice and the harvest by farmers from recent months.

All rice imports are subject to the tariff rate of 35 percent valid until end-2024, as per Executive Order No. 50 signed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. last month.

READ MORE: Imee Marcos: Local farmers first before importing rice
PH seen importing more rice in 2024

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