Agri trade deficit widens to $11.80 billion in 2022

THE agricultural trade deficit widened 32.8% year on year to $11.80 billion in 2022, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Monday, as import growth outpaced that of exports.

The PSA said total trade in agricultural goods — or the sum of exports and imports — rose 19% to $26.80 billion.

Imports grew 22.9% to $19.30 billion, with the growth rate more than doubling the 10% posted for exports, which were valued at $7.50 billion.

Cereals accounted for 86.3% or $16.67 billion of the agricultural imports.

Last year, imports from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) totaled $6.47 billion, or 16.1% of all farm imports.

Indonesia remained the top source of agricultural products within ASEAN, supplying $1.78 billion or 27.6% of the total, followed by Vietnam ($1.57 billion) and Malaysia ($1.40 billion).

Animal or vegetable fats and oils and other related products were the top agricultural trade goods with ASEAN.

From the European Union, the top source country for imports was Spain with 24.5% or $458.25 million. This was followed by the Netherlands ($233.55 million) and Belgium ($222.41 million).

Agricultural exports accounted for 9.5% or $7.50 million of the country’s total exports in 2022.

Exports shipped to ASEAN totaled $1.01 billion, with Malaysia the top buyer of Philippine agricultural exports at $438.54 million. It was followed by Thailand ($145.38 million) and Indonesia ($145.22 million).

Philippine agricultural exports to Europe totaled $1.71 billion, or 17.3% of all food exports.

The Netherlands accounted for $940.52 million of Philippine agricultural exports, followed by Spain ($165.51) and Italy ($155.51). — Sheldeen Joy Talavera