Manila. The Philippines hopes to limit rice imports to 500,000 tonnes next year, its agriculture minister said on Tuesday (22/11), as the government of President Rodrigo Duterte aims to be self-sufficient in rice production by 2020.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said he hoped the Philippines, one of the world's biggest rice importers, would not have to buy more than 500,000 tons of the grain next year as the prospects for farm output, including rice and fisheries, looked favorable.
"We will strive for self sufficiency. We will work for it and we have the formula to do it," Pinol told a media briefing.
The Philippines' National Food Authority last month indicated it could buy 250,000 tons of rice to boost buffer stocks on top of the 250,000 tonnes it has purchased from Vietnam and Thailand earlier this year.
Agriculture output in the fourth quarter may increase by 3 percent from last year but would remain at the same level as the third quarter, Pinol said.
Barring strong typhoons and given greater demand for fish products from China, agriculture growth was also forecast to sustain its "robust" pace next year, Pinol added.
The Philippine economy grew 7.1 percent in the third quarter, its fastest pace in more than three years, helped in part by strong farm output growth.