The Philippines may need to import as many as two million tonnes of rice in 2014 due to a series of typhoons including super typhoon Haiyan, the country’s traders and farming experts have said.

Such a move would mark the largest rice import volume in four years by the Southeast Asian country, which means it will miss its self- sufficiency target next year.

Last month, Philippine agricultural officials were optimistic about rice production, saying that an estimated 2.2 million tonnes of year end stock would minimise imports in line with its goal of becoming fully self-sufficient in rice by 2014.

However, this week it had to seek bids from regional Vietnam , Thailand and Cambodia for an emergency supply of 500,000 tonnes to boost state stocks depleted by relief operations after Haiyan devastated the central Philippines .

Vietnam bagged the government-to-government deal after offering the lowest price at a tender on November 26.

Imports approved this year by the National Food Authority have hit 705,000 tonnes, including the latest emergency purchase. Before Haiyan struck it had been looking to cap 2013 imports to 350,000 tonnes.

The Philippines was the world’s biggest buyer of rice in 2010 when it imported 2.45 million tonnes.-VNA