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Philippines sees rice surplus by end-2013
Publication Date : 10-10-2013
Any decision on a new round of rice importation may not be made until early next year, based on the prevailing procurement timetable, Philippines' Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said on Wednesday.
At the same time, Alcala predicted a surplus of 2.24 million metric tons of the staple food by yearend, which can meet the entire country’s needs for over two months.
He declined, however, to refute Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan’s recommendation on the immediate importation of 500,000 metric tons (MT) of milled rice.
In a statement, the agriculture chief said he “upholds consensus decision-making, especially on key policy issues” and denied that he was against the importation proposal.
“We in the Department of Agriculture and the National Food Authority have been following a calibrated approach and an established process in dealing with rice importation and we continue to be guided by the president’s policy pronouncement during his second State of the Nation Address in July 2011,” Alcala said.
“What we want is to not import what we do not need and to not rely on importation,” he added. “What Juan de la Cruz cooks will be planted, harvested and bought [in the Philippines].”
Alcala explained that since the country’s main harvest occurs in the second half of the year—accounting for 60 per cent of the year’s output—decisions on whether to import and how much are usually finalised at the start of the succeeding year.