Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Philippines to import less rice in 2012

Who will remember this prediction in 2012 anyway? In 2012, somebody will make another prediction that the Philippines will import less rice in 2013. 

PHL to import less rice in 2012 — Agri chief

The country may import less rice in 2012 or only 500,000 metric tons (MT) if the current wet season cropping proves to be a good harvest.

This year, the Philippines set its rice importation limit to 860,000 MT or a third of the volume imported in 2010.

“After 2013 siguro, we hope, self sufficient na tayo at hopefully sana tayo na iyung nag-e-export ng ating bigas," Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said Monday, referring to government’s plans to be rice self-sufficient during the term of President Benigno Aquino III.

The country is already looking at possible export buyers once the rice production exceeds the country’s need.

Alcala pointed out an existing memorandum of understanding with Vietnam and Thailand for possible rice imports in 2013 as a fallback in case the country fails to be self-sufficient. The agreement does not compel the Philippines to buy solely from these two countries.

However, President Benigno Aquino III has expressed confidence that the country could be self-sufficient as early as next year given the projections for rice production in 2012.

The Agriculture Department, he said, only set the target to 2013 given the possibility of typhoons and other calamities that might hinder production.

“Mga 286,000 tons ang natitirang kailangan nating punuin sa 2012," the President said.

“Sabi [ni Alacala] sa akin, ‘Boss, sa 2013 tiyak na meron na tayong kakayahan o kasiguruhan sa ating sinasaka. Mapapakain na natin ang Pilipino sa sariling pagsiskap natin.’ Hindi na gagawing uso ang dating uso na wala na tayong ginawa kundi umasa sa ating mga kalapit bayan para tugunan ang ating pangangailangan sa pagkain," he added.

There are also plans to expand agriculture production to include vegetable exportation by the first semester next year. — BC/MRT/VS, GMA News

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