The Philippines’s rice imports from January to November fell by 14 percent year-on-year to a little over 3 million metric tons (MMT) as higher global grain prices dented local traders’ appetite.
The latest Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) data showed that the country’s rice imports during the 11-month period reached 3.033 MMT, about 492,000 metric tons (MT) lower than the 3.526 MMT recorded in the same period last year.
The decline in rice import volume was caused by the elevated global rice prices due to tight world supply on the back of India’s rice export ban, pundits and industry players noted.
This is the third year that the country’s rice imports breached the 3 MMT mark. The figure was also hit in 2019 and 2022.
Vietnam remained as the Philippines’s top rice import source, accounting for 2.689 MMT followed by Thailand and Myanmar with 161,990.67 MT and 127,818 MT, respectively, based on BPI data.
BPI data showed that rice imports from Pakistan reached 34,625.21 MT while those from India and Cambodia reached 13,734.79 MT and 3,615 MT, as of end-November.
The country also imported 1,000 MT of rice from Taiwan, 12.36 MT from Italy and nearly 1 MT from Spain, according to BPI data.
BPI data indicated that the country’s rice top importer from January to November was Bly Agri Venture Trading with a total import volume of 221,938 MT. It was followed by Davao Solar Best Corp. with 218,348 MT and Orison Free Enterprise Inc. with 184,733.8 MT.
Agriculture officials had said that the country’s total rice import volume this year would be lower than the record-high 3.8 MMT volume last year due to elevated global rice prices.
Agriculture Undersecretary for Rice Industry Development Leocadio S. Sebastian earlier said the country’s rice imports for 2023 could settle at around 3.1 MMT, about 700,000 MT lower than the 3.826 MMT recorded last year as higher world rice prices discouraged importers from bringing in foreign stocks. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2023/10/17/costlier-world-grains-to-slash-rice-imports/)