Megi Destroys 500,000 Tonnes of Rice

MANILA – THIS month’s Typhoon Megi destroyed nearly half a million tonnes of rice in the Philippines, the world’s largest importer of the grain said on Thursday.

The data is equivalent to 2.69 per cent of the country’s 2010 output target of 17.4 million tonnes of unmilled rice, but the agriculture department stressed there were no immediate plans to revise import targets for 2011.

‘A total of 404,827 hectares (999.92 million acres) of rice lands were affected resulting in the loss of some 468,546 metric tons of (unmilled rice) worth eight billion pesos (S$241.2 million),’ it said in a statement.

Megi, the strongest typhoon to hit the country in four years, struck the country’s farming regions in the north on October 18, killing 36 people.

The Philippines earlier set a rice production target this year of 17.2 million tonnes and imports of 1.5 million tonnes.

Angelito Banayo, head of the government’s grain trading arm the National Food Authority, has allayed fears that the damage will require the outfit to import a higher volume of rice next year, the statement said. — AFP

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