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Reference Date: 08-August-2014

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Despite localized crop damage due to Typhoon Glenda, prospects for the 2014 main season rice production remained favourable

  2. Record cereal imports in the 2013/14 marketing year (July/June)

  3. Prices of rice continued to increase in July reaching record levels

  4. Food insecurity concerns remain due to high prices and for the population affected by several typhoons/cyclones

Despite localized crop damage due to Typhoon Glenda, prospects for the 2014 main season rice remained favourable

Planting of the 2014, mostly irrigated, main season paddy crop, accounting for about 55 percent of the annual production, was completed by mid-June. After lower-than-normal precipitation between April and mid-May, remote sensing data indicate average to above-average rains since late May over most parts of the country, benefiting late transplanting activities and the earlier planted crops. In mid-July, Typhoon Glenda (Rammason) brought heavy rains and strong winds across southern areas of Luzon and central parts of the country, causing localized damages to rice and maize crops. A detailed assessment of the agricultural losses is still not available, but according to National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), cereals in the Region III (Central Luzon), IV-A (Calabarzon) and IV-B (Mimaropa) were affected the most. However, the overall damage to the 2014 main season cereal crops is expected to be limited. As a result, FAO forecasts this season’s rice output at 10.7 million tonnes, 3 percent above the corresponding season of the last year. The projected increase is mainly due to a 2 percent expansion in planted area, in response to high prices and Government support to the rice sector. Assuming an average secondary season harvest, to be planted from mid-October onwards, FAO tentatively forecasts the 2014 aggregate rice production at 19 million tonnes, close to last year’s record level.

Harvesting of the 2014 main season maize crop is currently underway and will be completed by mid-September. FAO forecasts the 2014 maize production, including the ongoing main and the forthcoming secondary seasons, at 7.4 million tonnes, around last year’s bumper level.

The probability (50 to 65 percent) of an El Niño phenomenon developing this year causes concern about cereal production, as the past events resulted in production declines in the country. Although El Niño conditions are still neutral, and a weak event appears more likely, forecasts released by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), indicate below-average rains in the last quarter of the year (October-December), particularly over Luzon and Visayas, two main producing areas. Depending on the timing of an eventual El Niño, yields of the 2014 main season cereals crops and/or planting of the 2015 secondary paddy crops may be negatively affected by the event.

Record cereal imports in the 2013/14 marketing year

Cereal imports for the 2013/14 marketing year are estimated at 5.7 million tonnes, almost 50 percent above last year’s low level. Rice imports in the 2014 marketing year are expected to more than double the level of the previous year and reach 1.8 million tonnes, reflecting Government efforts to stabilize domestic prices and restore public stocks. Similarly, imports of wheat (which is not produced domestically) increased to 3.4 million tonnes in the 2013/14 marketing year (July/June), due to strong domestic demand. Reportedly, the Government recently decided to lower the tariff under the Minimum Access Volumes (MAV) from 40 percent to 35 percent and increased the MAV to 805 200 tonnes, up from the current 350 000 tonnes. The tariff for imported volumes beyond the MAV level will remain at 50 percent.

Prices of rice continued to increase in July reaching record levels

The national average prices of regular and well-milled varieties strengthened further in July reaching record levels, mainly as a result of lower imports in previous months, coupled with concerns about localized crop losses, following Typhoon Glenda. In an attempt to stabilize prices and rebuild stocks, the National Food Authority (NFA) is currently importing 800 000 tonnes of rice from Viet Nam and has recently announced plans of additional 200 000 tonnes before the end of September and further 500 000 tonnes in the coming months.

The latest available official data indicates a 4.9 percent year-on-year increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in July 2014.

Food insecurity concerns remain due to high prices and for the population affected by several typhoons/cyclones

Overall, food security in the country is considered satisfactory following consecutive years of good harvests. However, severe typhoon/cyclones hit the country regularly, causing widespread devastation, loss of life and severe damage to the agricultural sector. The NDRRMC estimates that typhoons Haiyan (in early November 2013) and Glenda affected at least 16 and 4 million people, respectively. The storms also caused severe damages to housing and infrastructure, including irrigation and storage facilities. In addition, losses to stored crops at household level and in warehouses were also reported.

The high prices of main staple rice are also a contributing factor for food insecurity, especially of the low-income households.









Relevant links:
From GIEWS:
 As of Jul 2014, included in the list of "Countries Requiring External Assistance for Food"
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Maps
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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