THE US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said it downgraded its forecast for Philippine rice production due to damage to the crop from multiple typhoons.
In a report prepared by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the Grain and Feed Update, the FAS said that milled rice production is estimated to drop to 12.55 million metric tons (MT) for the market year 2023-2024. This was a 0.4% downgrade from its previous forecast of 12.6 million MT.
The typhoons that damaged rice-growing areas were Dodong (international name: Talim), Egay (Doksuri), and Falcon (Khanun).
“Industry contacts’ expectations for the 2023 El Niño are mixed but balanced across the country, so overall effects on production are likely minimal,” FAS said.
The government weather service, known as PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration), estimates the El Niño to peak in late 2023 or early 2024.
The FAS also projected a decline in rice imports due to high international prices and the uncertainty introduced by the price controls for rice at the retail level.
It expects rice imports to decrease to 3.5 million MT, downgrading the previous estimate of 3.8 million MT.
“Rice importers are adopting a wait-and-see attitude, with some importers canceling their purchases in the days after the price ceiling was announced, according to industry contacts,” it added.
The government imposed a temporary price ceiling on regular-milled rice of P41 per kilogram and on well-milled rice of P45 per kilo, via Executive Order 39.
The USDA made the 3.8 million MT projection in an earlier report, Grain: World Markets and Trade, covering the marketing year 2023-2024.
The Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA), however, said imports will be “much less” than the USDA is forecasting.
Meanwhile, the FAS also projected a decline in corn production to 8.2 million MT, likewise due the recent typhoons and “the continued presence of the fall armyworm.”
“The situation is particularly severe in Ilagan, Isabela, the corn capital of the Philippines, and surrounding areas,” it said.
Imports of corn are expected to increase to 1 million MT during the market year.
“FAS estimates corn imports to increase for MY 2023/24 because of the domestic production shortfall,” it said. — Adrian H. Halili