Philippines plans US$1.7bil spending to cut farm losses


MANILA (Bloomberg): The Philippines, the world’s top importer of rice, plans to spend 93 billion pesos (US$1.7 billion) to build more storage and other facilities to boost food production and cut prices.

The government will build facilities that will minimize post-harvest losses and lessen dependence on imports, the Department of Agriculture said in a statement on Tuesday. It aims to increase rice and corn inventory by 23 days.

The South-East Asian nation aims to modernize farm and fisheries production and develop its logistics system, Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel said.

Around 30% of farm production is lost due to poor logistics, and eliminating such losses will lower the cost of high-value crops and vegetables by as much as 15%, Tiu said in a briefing.

The country incurs 494,000 metric tons or 10.8 billion pesos a year in post-harvest losses on the staple grain and corn, according to government data.

The government targets to complete 47 cold chain facilities by June 2028, the end of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s term, adding to the 268 facilities built as of November.

The Philippines is vulnerable to rice price shocks, which persisted despite a month-long price cap in September and lower import tariffs. Consumer prices in the country rose 3.9% in December, slowest in 22 months but rice inflation was at its quickest pace since March 2009.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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