MANILA, Philippines — A senior official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) yesterday gave assurance that the rice supply during lean months is enough with the two-month inventory at the end of June 2023.
In a radio interview, Agriculture Undersecretary for rice industry development Leocadio Sebastian noted that more than 1.4 million metric tons (MT) of imported rice also arrived in the country from January to May 11, 2023.
“Based on our monitoring, we have a good harvest for the first semester. We don’t see any shortage as the volume of imported rice is also high as more than 1.4 million metric tons have already arrived,” he said.
Sebastian made the assurance following an earlier warning from the Federation of Free Farmers on the possible rice crisis during the lean months – July, August and September – when production is low.
“We still have local production at that time and we expect more imported rice to arrive in the coming months, so our supply will be enough,” he said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority has said that the country’s rice inventory remained on a downward trend, declining by 14 percent in March. Its latest data showed a total rice inventory of 1.41 million MT as of March, which is 13.7 percent lower than the previous year’s level of 1.63 million MT. Similarly, this is 7.5 percent below the previous month’s stock of 1.52 million MT.
Meanwhile, Sebastian also assured the public that the retail prices of the staple would stabilize amid the spike in the cost of the grains in the past months.
“There was an increase in the cost production of our farmers because of the high prices of fertilizer but we also expect the prices to stabilize,” he said.
Based on monitoring of the DA in Metro Manila markets, the retail price of local regular milled-rice ranged between P34 and P42 per kilo; local well-milled rice, between P39 and P47 per kilo; local premium rice, between P40 and P49 per kilo; and local special rice, between P48 and P60 per kilo.
Meanwhile, imported regular milled rice range between P37 and P38 per kilo; imported well-milled rice, between P40 and P46 per kilo and special imported rice, between P50 and P58 per kilo.
Agriculture Assistant Secretary and spokesman Kristine Evangelista said that she personally monitors the retail price of regular milled rice.
“I monitor the retail price of regular milled as it will be a cause for concern if there is no P34 per kilo. As of now, we still have P34 based on our price monitoring,” Evangelista said.
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