Philippines rice import dependence down to 5%

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is gradually decreasing its dependency on imported rice after the country’s import dependency ratio went down to five percent last year from 11 percent in 2015.

Based on a report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the rice import dependency ratio decreased to 4.99 percent in 2016 from 11.07 percent in 2015.

Rice imports declined by 54.71 percent to $278.87 million in 2016. In terms of volume, shipments fell 58.87 percent to 609,360 metric tons (MT).

Because of the reduction in the importation level last year, the country’s self-sufficiency ratio of rice increased to 95.01 percent from the 2015’s ratio of 88.93 percent.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the increased awareness of local farmers in using modern technology significantly contributed to the higher production.

“Policy reforms instituted administration like providing free irrigation, banning rice importation during peak harvest season, mechanization and easy access credit contributed to the enthusiasm of farmers to produce more,” Pinol said.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is expecting a better rice production this year,  further lessening the country’s dependence on imports.

“We will aggressively implement a hybridization program next year which targets 600,000 hectares, solar and small irrigation projects, a national mechanization program to cut post-harvest losses and an easy access financing program to allow farmers to buy better seeds and sufficient farm inputs,” Piñol said.

“The target is to increase national yield to six metric tons per hectare per harvest which would produce enough rice for Filipinos over the next five years,” he said.

Meanwhile, the PSA also reported that importation was also lesser for fishery products such as milkfish, round scad, tilapia, crabs and oysters with  import dependency ratio.

However, agricultural products that showed high dependency on importation were coffee, garlic, onion, peanut and mongo, with 68 percent, 89 percent, 53 percent, 72 percent and 48 percent IDRs, respectively.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/business/2017/10/30/1753675/phl-rice-import-dependence-down-5