Philippines to purchase 500,000 tonnes of rice in 2012, down from 860,000 tonnes this year, as world's largest rice importer expecting good harvest in next dry season, agriculture secretary says

MANILA, Philippines , December 6, 2011 () – The Philippines, the world's largest rice importer, expects a good harvest in the next dry season and will import less in the coming year.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said at least 551,155 tons (500,000 metric tons) will be imported next year. The government will allow private traders to import half of the total volume and farmers' groups the remainder from Cambodia, Myanmar or Vietnam.

Alcala said Tuesday the Philippines is expecting a good harvest due to a "quick turnaround" in production after recovering from two devastating typhoons this year.

The National Food Authority, which buys rice abroad to cover shortages, will not make purchases in 2012.

The Philippines imported 947,987 tons (860,000 metric tons) for this year. That was a third of its rice imports in 2010.

It purchased 2.58 million tons (2.34 million metric tons) in a 2008 crisis that pushed world rice prices to historic highs.

The Philippines normally imports about a tenth of its annual rice needs.

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