The Philippine government is set to export rice this year, Philippine agriculture officials said Saturday.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala said that the government, in partnership with farmers' groups, aims to export at least 100 metric tons (MT) of fancy, colored and organic rice, changing the country's status as a rice net importer.
According to Dante Delima, DA assistant secretary and national rice program coordinator, at the first step, the country will ship 10 MT rice bound for Macau and Hong Kong. Next year and beyond, the Philippines targets to export more rice, reaching up to 300, 000 MT by 2016.
Apart from Macau and Hong Kong, other foreign markets interested to buy Philippine fancy, colored and organic rice are the United States and several Middle East countries, he said.
When national sufficiency is attained by the end of this year and beyond, Delima said, the Philippine government, through the DA 's National Food Authority (NFA), may still decide to import minimal volume of rice to serve as a buffer stock.
The Philippines used to be a major rice importer in the world until 2010. When the Aquino administration took power in 2010, it targeted to reach rice self-sufficient by the year of 2013.