MANILA: The Philippines continued to purchase more food from abroad last year, as agricultural imports rose 10.6 percent to $12.52 billion in 2016, from $11.32 billion in 2015, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Data from the PSA showed that the increase in food imports widened the country’s agricultural trade deficit to $7.24 billion in 2016, from $6.17 billion in 2015.
The country’s top 5 imports included wheat, soya bean oil/cake meal, milk and cream products, coffee and frozen meat of bovine animals with a share of 9.8 percent, 8.4 percent, 5.1 percent, 3.9 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively.
However, rice imports declined by 54.71 percent to $278.87 million in 2016. In terms of volume, shipments fell by 58.87 percent to 609,360 metric tons.
Rice is included in the list of the country’s top 10 imports in 2016. The country’s top rice sources were Vietnam, Thailand, India, China, and Singapore, with a share of 52.83 percent, 32.3 percent, 7.25 percent, 6.95 percent and 0.63 percent, respectively.
PSA data showed that total agriculture trade increased 8 percent to $17.8 billion in 2016, from $16.48 billion in 2015.
Among the major trading partners, the Philippines’s trade surplus with Japan reached $417.07 million last year. The figure is 12.9 percent lower than the $478.89 million recorded in 2015.
The country, however, posted agricultural trade deficits with its other major trading partners. The deficit with Australia stood at $486.37 million; the US, $1.21 billion; Asean, $3.31 billion; and the European Union (EU), $296.83 million.
Among the Asean member-countries, Malaysia emerged as the top destination for agricultural exports. Receipts reached $168.52 million, or 30 percent of the total.
Indonesia was the country’s largest supplier of agricultural commodities, accounting for nearly 26 percent of payments. Imports from Indonesia amounted to $995.04 million last year.
Among the EU member-countries, PSA data showed that the Netherlands was the top destination of Philippine farm goods. Export receipts reached $524.18 million, or 51.3 percent of the total shipments to EU member-countries.
Germany was the top source of food imports for the Philippines among EU member-countries. Payments amounted to $324.1 million, or 24.6 percent of the total.