According to the September report of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Philippines will overtake China as the world’s top rice importer despite the global rice price surge.
The report added that the rice import of the Philippines will touch 3.8 million metric tons in the fiscal 2023-24, the highest across the globe.
Whereas it is expected that China will import around 3.5 million metric tons in 2023-24, this is lower than the projected 4 million metric tons in the August report.
The Philippines is the sixth-largest rice-consuming country in the world. USDA forecasted that the Philippines will consume around 16.4 million metric tons.
China and India are the top rice-consuming nations in the world, accounting for 152 million metric tons and 115.5 million metric tons respectively
In the report, USDA stated its concern over the global rice price surge as the global rice market is experiencing a 15-year price spike.
The agriculture agency said in the report that “India sent shockwaves through the global rice market since its July export ban on milled white rice and subsequent August export tax on parboiled rice and minimum export price for basmati.”
As global rice prices are on a surge, the Philippines is delaying its purchase of staple, waiting for the stabilization in the prices of rice in the global market.
President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos Jr. raised his concern about the rice price surge during the 10th Asia Summit in Singapore. He said the Philippines will continue its dependency on the rice import due to high demand in the domestic market.
He added, “But this is a lesson that we immediately learn. I said, we cannot now continue to depend on importation which is what has happened for the Philippines. In the past years, it became the easy way out.”
Furthermore, he said, “Just import more, import more rice, import more corn, import more everything. And the pandemic showed us that this was not a wise choice to have made.”
To sum it up, The Philippines is on its way to becoming the largest importer of rice by taking over China, as the report of USDA stated. It is estimated that the Philippines will import around 3.8 million metric tons of rice in 2023-24.
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