WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Philippine grain imports are expected to decline after the country’s weather becomes more hospitable for production following El Niño, according to an Oct. 9 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA said the arrival of African swine fever (ASF) in the Philippines will lead to a 10% reduction in hog feed demand, resulting in feed wheat imports falling 500,000 tonnes in market year 2018-19 to 7.1 million tonnes.

“USDA forecasts overall food and feed grain consumption to slow down in market year 2019-20 due to the confirmed outbreak of Animal swine fever on July 25, 2019, and its expected impacts to animal feed demand,” the report said. “This will be partially offset by the return to more normal weather conditions, contributing to increased rice and corn production.”

The USDA forecast corn imports to decline nearly 7% to 700,000 tonnes due to improved production and sufficient stocks.

The USDA noted smallholder rice farmers will continue planting rice despite low prices, while progressive rice producers are expected to become more efficient in market year 2019-20. Although area harvested is lowered, rice production will increase by 2% due to favorable weather conditions, with imports expected to decline in market year 2019-20 because of adequate supply, the USDA said.