The Philippines may purchase more rice from abroad over the next two years with the United States Department of Agriculture expecting the total import volume to breach the 3 million metric ton (MT) mark.

In a report, the foreign agency said the country’s rice importation volume for 2022 and 2023 will reach 3.1 million MT from its previous projection of 3 million MT.

It also said the country will receive “large monthly imports from Vietnam” this year and will see “continued strong demand for rice from Vietnam” in the next.

The country’s rice imports as of July 7 touched 1.9 million MT, with Vietnam accounting for more than half or 1.5 million MT of the total volume, data from the Bureau of Plant Industry showed.

The Philippines’ milled rice production for next year is pegged at 12.41 million MT, lower than this year’s 12.6 million MT and 12.41 million MT in 2021.

The Department of Agriculture earlier said palay (unhusked rice) output for the first half of this year declined by 6.8 percent, equivalent to a reduction of 1.1 million MT to 1.3 million MT.