The Philippine Rice Output Hits an All-Time High of 20 Million Tons
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This year, the Philippines are to emerge as the second top importer of Rice next to China, which the USDA expects to import 5.8 million tons. As of July 7, data from the Bureau of Plant Industry showed the country has already imported 2 million tons of Rice. Of the total, 80 percent or 1.6 million tons of Rice imported was from Vietnam. According to the Agflow data, Pakistan ranked 2nd after Vietnam. Last year, the country imported 2.8 million tons of Rice.
The Philippine Rice consumption expects to increase to 15.3 million tons next year from the projected 15.2 million tons this year. Next year, the USDA projects the country’s Rice imports to reach 3.1 million tons, an increase of 100,000 tons from its earlier 3 million tons import forecast. The agency also forecasted the Philippines’ milled Rice production at 12.4 million tons.
According to the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Rice production reached an all-time high of 20 million tons in 2021 due to the solid Rice harvest. Former agriculture secretary William Dar said the country would be forced to continue importing Rice due to lower production, weighed down by reduced usage of fertilizer which has become more expensive. He claimed the need for more fertilizer subsidies to prevent a decline in palay production, which could reach as much as 1.1 to 1.3 million tons, based on estimates from the Philippine Rice Research Institute.
This year’s palay production for the first semester dropped by 6.8 percent to 4.5 million tons due to rising fertilizer pRices. The Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority earlier pushed for government-to-government (G2G) deals with fertilizer-producing countries and set pricing caps to mitigate the spike in pRices of fertilizers and their raw materials.
The Philippine Rice Varieties Developments
In line with the continuous works to revive Philippine Rice production, the International Rice Research Institute and PhilRice, in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Los Baños, submitted 14 new inbred and dry-seed Rice varieties a few years ago, which were then approved by the National Seed Industry Council.
Among the newly released varieties, four inbreds—NSIC Rc394, Rc396, Rc402, and Rc414—and five dry-seeded—NSIC Rc416, Rc422, Rc424, Rc426, and Rc430—were developed by PhilRice. These varieties vary depending on their maturation age and yield, with the NSCI Rc394, NSCI Rc396, and NSIC Rc402 yielding between 5.1 to 5.5 metric tons per hectare and taking up to 106 to 107 days to mature for early harvest.
The Philippine Rice Research Institute supported the cultivation of drought-tolerant Rice varieties and utilized El Niño-ready technologies in paddy-Rice production. The recommended Rice varieties that PhilRice encouraged farmers to plant are early-maturing types, such as the SB Rc10 (Pagsanjan), NSIC Rc130 (Tubigan 3), and NSIC Rc152 (Tubigan 10), which can yield up to 9.8 tons per hectare and mature at a maximum of 107 days. In addition, PhilRice urged farmers to use water-saving technologies, such as controlled irrigation or alternate wetting and drying, aerobic Rice, drip irrigation, and reduced tillage technology.
Alongside the production of Rice varieties, Rice research has also yielded technological advancements that improve the shelf-life of some Rice variants, namely Brown Rice. At maximum, Brown Rice can only be stored within a month or two. To address a higher chance of spoilage of Brown Rice, research specialists from the Metals Industry Research and Development Center of the Department of Science and Technology designed a Superheated steam treatment system (SSTS) that stabilizes Brown Rice.
The development of the SSTS machines predicts to increase the production and consumption of Brown Rice in the Philippines and make it more affordable for Filipino families, regardless of their financial status.
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