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The Department of Agriculture expects the Philippines to import less rice, as it focuses on local production.

The DA’s statement came after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that the Philippines has surpassed China as the world’s leading importer of rice.

The United States Department of Agriculture, in its latest report “Grain: World Markets and Trade,” is expected to reach 3.8 million metric tons (MMT) of Philippine rice imports in the 2023-2034 marketing year, while the China’s imports will decrease to 3.5-M MT.

In a statement, DA Undersecretary for Rice Industry Development Leocadio Sebastian said the country’s rice imports for 2023 are expected to be lower than the USDA’s forecast.

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Leocadio said, this indicates that the amount imported by DA in 2022 will be more than the deficit.

To recall, the department said that the Philippines has enough supply of rice until the end of the year.