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Panama Rice Production Decreases for Second Consecutive Year

12 December 2013

PANAMA - Harvesting of the 2013 rice crop was completed in October and production is estimated seven per cent lower than last year and well below the five year average at 230,000 tonnes.

FAO reports the decline is mainly a result of a decrease in plantings from the already reduced level of 2012 due to increased production costs and credit constraints.

In the main producing province of Chiriquí, the reduction in this year’s output also reflects lower yields following the mite outbreak, which according to official reports has affected 30 per cent of the area planted to rice as the spread of the plague was facilitated by excessive humidity in the soil.

In response to the situation, the Government provided subsidies to rice growers to increase their area planted for the smaller second season crop (August/January) which is currently is being harvested.

Cereal imports forecast to increase in 2013/14 marketing year (July/June)

Cereal imports in 2013/14 marketing year (July/June) are forecast to increase by three per cent from last year’s already high level and reach 610 000 tonnes.

The increase reflects larger rice imports from the United States and Brazil, expected to grow by almost nine per cent and reach 98 000 tonnes, due lower domestic availabilities.

Wheat and maize imports are also anticipated slightly up from 2012 in order to satisfy human consumption and the steady demand for animal feed.

Rice prices remain at high levels in October

Wholesale rice prices in Panama City in October were unchanged from the previous month. However they were still four per cent above their levels a year earlier.

The high price level is mainly a result of the successive reduced outputs. By contrast bean prices were almost 14 per cent below their levels of October 2012 and unchanged from the previous month.

TheCropSite News Desk

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