Philippine rice imports for 2014 will not reach 1.2 million tonnes forecast by FAO despite extensive damage caused by typhoon, says agriculture department

MANILA, Philippines , November 21, 2013 () – Despite the extensive damage caused by typhoon Haiyan, locally named "Yolanda," to rice-growing areas in central Philippines, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Thursday that the country's rice imports for 2014 would not reach 1.2 million metric tons (MMT).

Agriculture Undersecretary Dante Delima said the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) estimate is "too much."

"The 1.2 MMT of rice which FAO has projected the Philippines will import next year is beyond what the country needs," Delima said in a text message to Xinhua News Agency.

However, he declined to provide the exact volume of rice that the country will import next year.

The DA official issued the statement after FAO said in a report that Philippine rice imports would increase by 20 percent to 1.2 MMT in 2014 after 32 percent of rice crops were affected by typhoon Haiyan.

FAO said this will cause Philippine rice output to drop to 18 MMT from its earlier projection of 18.9 MMT.

The Philippine government imports rice to beef up the buffer stock of state food agency National Food Authority which provides the staple to areas affected by natural calamities.

For 2013, Manila imported 205,700 metric tons from Vietnam under a government-to-government transaction.

Based on the latest data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the typhoon destroyed 10.51 billion pesos (241.5 million U.S. dollars) worth of crops and farm infrastructure in central Philippines.

(c) 2013 Xinhua News Agency

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