MANILA — While the government is still expecting to hit new records in rice harvest, the Philippines eyes to import 500,000 metric tons of the said staple crop.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said they are expecting the first batch of imports to arrive before July.
He also added that the imports will help secure enough rice for the country.
Despite this, the department is still eyeing to hit a bumper harvest of 20.08 million metric tons this year.
The department, however noted that delays in production and drought may reduce the harvest to only 19.02 million metric tons.
“If we can hit more than 19 million MT, that will be another record year for us,” Alcala said.
The country has a total rice production of 18.97 tons last year, a figure that is higher that the 18.4 million tons recorded in 2013.
The Agriculture secretary said that in order to boost rice production to the level of sufficiency the country needs more irrigation projects.
As a requirement, the country needs to produce at least 50 percent of its yearly needs for it to be considered self-sufficient.