GLOBAL rice output in 2016 may grow by 1 percent due to expectations of recovery in the Philippines and other major rice-growing countries, according to a United Nations-supervised monitoring system.
Based on the latest monthly market report of the Agricultural Market Information System (Amis), worldwide production of rice is now penciled in at 495 million tons.
Along with the Philippines, better prospects are also seen for India, Thailand and the United States.
“In the Philippines, the dry season crop conditions are favorable in the northern regions and mixed in the southern regions due to insufficient water and intense heat brought about by prolonged dry spells,” the Amis said.
Amis, which is supervised by the Food and Agriculture Organization, said the El Niño continued to cause concern and impact conditions in Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand.
“The ongoing El Niño continues to decline from its peak strength in late 2015, with neutral conditions expected by June,” the Amis said.
Citing estimates by United Nations agencies, the climatic phenomenon has already resulted in 60 million people affected by droughts, floods and extreme weather.
“Its aftermath impact on food security is expected to continue well into 2017,” the Amis said.
As for global rice trade, Amis said this was tentatively forecast to decrease to reflect reduced import demand by several countries in Asia.
Trade volume is now pegged at 44.1 million tons, down by 1.7 percent from the estimated 44.9 million tons traded in the previous year.
Last week, National Food Authority administrator Renan B. Dalisay said there was yet no need for fresh importation as national inventory of milled rice was sufficient.
“The national inventory — is good for 94 days, of which 34-days’ worth of rice is with the NFA and the rest is with commercial warehouses and households,” Dalisay told the Inquirer.
NFA’s most recent purchase from abroad was for a total of 750,000 tons, for which state-run suppliers in Vietnam and Thailand were contracted through a bidding conducted last year.
Of the total volume, 250,000 tons arrived during the fourth quarter of 2015 while the rest arrived during the first quarter this year.
Dalisay said there was no decision yet on whether importation would be needed for the months of lean supply which starts in July. This would depend on the assessment of the supply situation in the runup to the lean months.