Philippines studying more rice imports for 2010 on El Nino
Manila (10 February) -- THE Philippines, the world's biggest rice buyer, is studying the possibility of increasing rice imports this year to meet a potential output shortfall due to a dry spell caused by the El Nino phenomenon, a senior government official said on Wednesday.
Agriculture Undersecretary Bernardo Fondevilla said a severe El Nino weather pattern this year could cut the Philippine paddy rice harvest by more than 800,000 tons, which could mean more rice imports.
But a mild El Nino may only reduce crop losses to a smaller 264,940 tons, Fondevilla added.
In response to either scenario, the government has set aside P570 million to mitigate the impact of El Nino on rice output, including cloud seeding over watershed areas and boosting irrigation systems. (PIA) [top]