Agri agency offers explanation why PH now top rice importer
MANILA - An agriculture agency on Friday offered an explanation as to why the Philippines has overtaken China as the world's top rice importer.
Gerald Glenn Panganiban, director of the Bureau of Plant Industry, said China could have improved local rice production resulting in lower imports.
"Ang assumption is mas malakas na ba tayong kumain kaysa sa mga ating Chinese counterparts? But hindi naman ganun. Maaaring sila'y nag-upscale din sa kanilang production technology kaya mas dumami ang kanilang produksyon, kumonti ang kanilang importasyon," Panganiban told TeleRadyo Serbisyo.
"Tayo naman kasi… ang ating imports ay atin lamang ikino-complement sa doon sa ating mga kakulangan," he said.
According to the latest report by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Philippines is now the world's top rice importer.
It estimated that the total rice importation of the Philippines for the 2022-2023 trade year would hit 3.9 million metric tons compared to China's 3.5 million metric tons.
But Panganiban said they are expecting an "increased harvest" for the staple commodity this year.
"Meron tayong inaasahan for the last quarter na 1.5, 1.4 million metric tons. So I'm not sure kung ganun pa rin ang magiging level ng imports natin," he said.
"Kung ikukumpara n'yo nga from last year halimbawa, 'yung na-import natin is almost like 25 percent or 20 percent ng ating pangangailangan. This year, we are expecting comparatively less kasi nga po 'yung ine-expect natin for the last quarter ay relatively safe or enough para sa ating demand," he added.
While Panganiban assured that the government continues to support local rice production, he pointed out that the Philippines also benefits from rice importation because of the tariffs it receives, which could be used "for the development of the rice industry."