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Philippines to remain as world’s top rice importer in 2025

MANILA, Philippines, May 18 ------ The Philippines will remain as the world’s largest rice importer in 2025 for the third consecutive year as the country turns to foreign supplies to feed its growing population. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) made this projection in its monthly global grains market report, making its first forecast for calendar year 2025. 


The USDA’s initial forecast pegs the Philippines’ total rice imports next year at 4.2 million metric tons (MT) to meet the “continued” increase in consumption that is driven by both growth in population and tourism. The projected volume is 100,000 MT higher than the county‘s estimated 4.1 million MT of rice imports for this year, according to the USDA. “The Philippines is expected to again be the largest global rice importer,” the international agency said recently. 


If the projection materializes, then it would be the third consecutive year that the country would import the most rice in the global market, based on USDA data. The USDA takes into account all forms of rice – from rough, brown to milled and broken – in its projection estimates. The USDA converts everything into a milled-equivalent basis to come up with its projections. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) earlier projected that the country’s population next year would hit at least 113.63 million, about 4.2 percent higher than the 109.035 million official population tally in 2020. 


Based on its estimates, the PSA said the average annual growth rate of the country’s population would be 0.84 percent for the period 2020 to 2025. The USDA projects that the Philippines would have a total rice consumption and requirement of 17.1 million MT next year, three percent higher than this year’s 16.6 million MT estimate. The Philippines would remain as the world’s sixth largest rice consumer. “Global consumption is expected to rise to a new record, primarily from strong growth in India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines,” the USDA said while estimating that total rice consumption next year at 526.401 million MT. 


The Philippines, however, may see another record rice harvest next year of about 12.7 million MT, 200,000 MT higher than this year’s estimate of 12.5 million MT, according to the USDA. The country is the seventh largest rice producer in the world behind Thailand and Vietnam. Rice imports account for about a fifth of the country’s annual supply, excluding beginning stocks, based on government data, since the country liberalized and deregulated its rice trade regime in 2019. 


The USDA raised its rice import forecast for the Philippines this year to 4.1 million MT from 3.9 million MT because of stronger buying from Vietnam. The Philippines has imported over 1.6 million MT of rice from January to May 2, based on latest Bureau of Plant Industry data. 




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