Rice imports hit 2 million metric tons by end of May

THE PHILIPPINES imported 2.09 million metric tons (MMT) of rice at the end of May, up 30.6%, according to the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI).

The BPI reported that rice shipments in May rose 28% to 411,689 MT.

The BPI said Vietnam remained the top supplier of rice as of the end of May, accounting for 72.7% of all imports in the year to date, or 1.52 MMT.

In January, the Philippines and Vietnam signed an agreement giving the Philippines a quota of 1.5 million to 2 million MT of rice annually for five years.

Thailand supplied 319,740.74 MT during the period, or 15.3% of the total, followed by Pakistan with 147,169.MT, or 7%.

Rounding out the top five were Myanmar and India which shipped 65,600 MT and 21,169 MT of rice, respectively.

Imports service about 20% of Philippine rice demand.

The Department of Agriculture is projecting production of palay, or unmilled rice, at 20.44 MMT this year, against 20.06 MMT last year.

The US Department of Agriculture projects Philippine rice imports of 3.9 MMT this year, downgrading its initial 4.1 MMT estimate. — Adrian H. Halili