The Philippines set a target of importing 1 million tonnes of rice this year under government-to-government (G-2-G) deals, according to the country’s Department of Agriculture (DA).

The Philippines earlier announced that it is planning to import about 800,000 tons of rice to control prices and maintain buffer stocks. This is part of the targeted one-million-tonne imports this year.

The inter-agency committee of the National Food Authority (NFA) will give the details of the importation plan this week after receiving production data on the rice harvest for the dry season cropping, according to Oryza website.

Currently, the Philippines has G-2-G purchase agreements with Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. The government may also import 200,000 tonnes of rice as part of the 500,000 tonnes of last year's emergency imports under G-2-G deals.

The Philippine Agricultural Secretary said that the government is continuing its rice self-sufficiency programme, despite the decision to import rice. He added that many regions in the country have registered production increases in this cropping season compared with last year, and the country's paddy rice production is likely to be around 19 million tonnes in 2013-14.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, the Philippines’ milled rice production in 2013-14 is estimated at around 11.6 million tonnes (about 18.5 million tonnes of unmilled rice), against a consumption of around 12.8 million tonnes.

The department estimated that the country will import 1.4 million tonnes of rice in 2014, while the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said it may import 1.2 million tonnes of rice.-VNA