MANILA - Unmilled rice output in the Philippines, one of the world's biggest importers of the grain, is forecast to grow 5.4 percent in the first half of this year on expectations of higher yields, the government said on Friday.
The Southeast Asian country's total rice output last year rose 2.3 percent to 18.44 million tonnes. That was about 2 million tonnes lower, as expected, than the government's target set under its food self-sufficiency programme.
Rice production from January to June this year is forecast to hit 8.43 million tonnes as the harvest area may expand 3.7 percent while yields per hectare may improve 1.7 percent, the agriculture department's statistics agency said in a report.
The Philippines may need to import as much as 2 million tonnes of the grain to meet 2014 requirements after several calamities, including strong typhoons, destroyed crops and depleted stocks.