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Typhoon Megi May Cause Philippines to Lose 600,000 Tons of Rice

October 18, 2010 by Samuel Chong

Manila, the Philippines - 600,000 metric tons of rice may disappear from the Philippines, the world’s biggest rice buyer, due to Typhoon Megi, which hits some of the nation’s biggest producing areas.

“Once the typhoon hits those areas, the crop will be affected,” says Antonio Fleta, the Agriculture Undersecretary. “Even if farmers harvest the damaged rice, they’d have a hard time drying the grain. There may not be much left to sell.”

About 157,000 hectares of land planted to rice in Cagayan and Isabela provinces may be in the path of the typhoon, Fleta said. Half of the planted areas in the two provinces are ready for harvest and the rest are in the reproductive stage, leaving them susceptible to damage, Fleta said.

The losses of rice may boost the Philippines’ import needs by 500,000 tons, pushing rice prices higher in Chicago and Thailand.  “I think it may have some effect, even on U.S. rice prices,” said Chookiat Ophaswongse, former president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, who advises the export group. Thai rice prices may rise by as much as $20 a ton, he said.


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