Philippines to import more rice amid lower production, impact of Karding: USDA

 A man moves sacks of rice in a warehouse in Philippines
Soaring fertilizer prices and the effects of Super Typhoon Karding mean that the Philippines will have to import more rice. (Photo: Getty Images)

From now till mid-2023, the Philippines is expected to import more rice amid lower projected production, as well as the recent devastating impact of Super Typhoon Karding in Luzon, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

This as the USDA revised its projection of Philippines’ milled rice production from 12.411 million metric tons to 11.975 million metric tons (MT), from July 2022 to June 2023. In addition, the country’s rice consumption is projected to reach 15.6 million MT next year.

According to the latest grain and feed update by the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, the revision is due to a three percent expected reduction in yields on account of soaring fertilizer prices, which forced farmers to significantly reduce application, as well as the effects of Karding.

Data from the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority also showed that fertilizer prices have increased significantly, but urea prices have tapered off slightly since May.

One News reported that Karding, which made landfall on September 25, destroyed rice crops ready for harvest in Central Luzon. Nueva Ecija, the country’s rice granary, was hardest hit.

According to the Philippines' Department of Agriculture (DA), the rice sector had the highest production loss, reaching 134,205 MT worth P2.05 billion in damages.

To cover the supply shortfall, the USDA expects the Philippines to import 3.4 million MT of rice, higher than the previous forecast of 3.3 million MT.

"Rice is a highly political crop in the Philippines, and supply sufficiency is very important for the government. Lower income consumers can subsist even on rice with minimal viands (simple side dishes or minimal flavorings that accompany rice)," said the USDA.

India's 20% tax levied against rice exports from September 9, which was intended to rein in inflation, is expected to raise prices of the local staple by P4-P5 per kilogram, according to a farmers group.

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