Eligible millers, traders and companies imported more than 240,000 metric tons (MT) of rice in January, the latest Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) data showed.
BPI data indicated that 247,362.437 MT of rice entered the country from January 1 to 27. The volume is covered by 362 sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPS-ICs) issued to 54 importers.
Figures from the attached agency of the Department of Agriculture showed that Vietnam accounted for almost 83 percent of the total rice imports during the period. The Philippines purchased 205,192.302 MT of rice from Vietnam.
Rice imports from Myanmar reached 21,320 MT while purchases from Thailand and China reached 12,765 MT and 2,355.135 MT, respectively, according to BPI data.
Mutya Ricemill led the 54 rice importers during the period with a total volume of 18,841 MT followed by Bestow Industries Inc. with 17,415 MT.
The Philippines is projected to remain as the world’s second-biggest buyer of rice this year. Import volume is expected to reach 2.5 million metric tons (MMT), according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
In its monthly global grain report, the USDA revised upward its rice import forecast for the Philippines for 2021 and 2022.
For this year, the USDA hiked its rice import forecast to 2.5 MMT from its previous estimate of 2.4 MMT due to “expected strong buying from Vietnam.”
Despite the 300,000 MT year-on-year decline in expected rice imports this year, the Philippines will remain as the world’s second-largest buyer of the staple for the third straight year, based on USDA data.
The BusinessMirror broke the story that the country’s rice imports last year expanded by 32 percent year-on-year to 2.771 MMT, the second-largest import volume by the Philippines in history. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/01/06/bpi-data-phl-rice-imports-jump-32-percent-to-2-771-mmt-in-2021/).
BPI data showed that total rice imports last year rose by 672,000 MT from the 2.099 MMT recorded in 2020.
Historical government data showed the 2021 figure is the second-highest rice import volume posted by the Philippines.
According to BPI, Vietnam remained as the country’s top supplier of rice last year as it accounted for 85 percent of the total import volume or about 2.36 MMT. The country’s rice imports from Vietnam rose by 29 percent from 1.828 MMT in 2020.
The Philippines produced 19.96 million metric tons (MMT) of unmilled rice last year. The figure is nearly 3.5 percent higher than the 19.29 MMT produced in 2020.
The Department of Agriculture said palay production registered an increase despite the damage caused by Typhoon Odette to the rice sector.