THE Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) said at least 64,943 metric tons (MT) of imported rice have arrived amid the warning of farmers' and rice watch groups that the retail prices of the staple food will continue to increase.
Based on the latest data from the BPI as of Jan. 12, 2023, the bulk of the fresh imports came from Vietnam with 55,303 MT; followed by Thailand, 8,080 MT; Myanmar, 1,040 MT; and Pakistan 520 MT.
The rice imports were covered by 73 sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPSICs).
In 2022, the total imported grains reached 3.8 million MT.
In an interview with The Manila Times on Tuesday, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) President Rosendo So said that the retail prices of imported rice in the local market have increased.
“Based on our monitoring, the retail price of imported rice is higher. From the previous P40 (per kilo), it has increased to P41 (per kilo),” So said.
He added that the imported grains failed to compete with the prices of local rice.
“The locally-produced rice is cheaper compared to the imported rice,” So added.
On Monday, rice watch group Bantay Bigas spokesman Cathy Estavillo warned that retail prices of the staple food will further increase in the first quarter of 2023 amid the low palay production and the failure of imported grains to bring down the prices despite the flooding in the local markets.
The total rice imports in 2022 reached 3,826,238 MT, more than double the total importation in 2019 of 1.857 MMT.
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