Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued a statement on Saturday, stressing the importance of increasing rice stocks within the country. He expressed concerns about the potential impact of El Nino’s dry weather on local harvests and the availability of rice from other suppliers.
Marcos, who also serves as the agriculture secretary, highlighted the global supply situation, noting that Southeast Asian countries are already making preparations for El Nino. As one of the world’s largest rice importers, the Philippines traditionally relies on neighboring Vietnam for procuring the staple grain.
However, Marcos acknowledged the possibility of limited supply from Vietnam as other buyers compete for the commodity. To address this, he proposed exploring a potential supply deal with India, mentioning the possibility of negotiation with someone there.
The Indian food ministry spokesperson did not immediately respond to the request for comment. Recently, India decided to ban exports of non-basmati white rice, which constitutes a significant portion of their rice exports, in response to substantial crop damage caused by heavy rains and subsequent domestic price increases.
Nevertheless, India has left room for government-to-government deals and expressed willingness to consider meeting the rice requirements of countries in need.
This ban is expected to cut shipments from the world’s largest grain exporter in half. Following the decision, rice prices exported from Vietnam and Thailand reached their highest level in over a decade during the current week.
India accounts for over 40% of the world’s rice exports, and the low inventories with other exporters may further exacerbate food prices already impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year and unpredictable weather conditions.