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No rice shortage amid Egay onslaught – DA

MANILA, Philippines — A ranking Department of Agriculture (DA) official yesterday gave assurance of enough supply of rice despite the devastation brought by Typhoon Egay in the country.

Agriculture Assistant Secretary Rex Estoperez cited the projection of the office of Undersecretary for policy, planning and regulations Mercedita Sombilla, which calculated a surplus of rice for at least 67 days at the end of the year.

“The super typhoon (Egay) happened after the harvest. Right now, the affected standing palay crops are still in the early stage,” Estoperez said in an interview with The STAR, adding that the wet season harvest would start by late September and run until December.

The targeted palay production for 2023, according to the official, could still be reached if the affected farmers will be able to plant again for the wet season and “if no other calamity will hit us, like the expected El Niño phenomenon.”

He added that aside from the good palay harvest during the first six months, rice imports also contributed to the country’s inventory. Based on data from the Bureau of Plant Industry, 3.8 million metric tons (MT) of imported rice already arrived in the country as of June 2023.

Meanwhile, Estoperez also warned that the spike in the retail prices of rice would persist after the decision of India to ban its export of the staple food.

“The export ban of India will further result in the increase in the price of rice in the world market,” he said.

According to Estoperez, based on the information from importers, the rice in the world market increased to $560 per MT from $520 per MT and may go up further.

“The imported rice was already high and Vietnam increased its prices. There was also information that other rice importing countries also source their rice from India and the ban will further result in the spike of rice prices in the world market,” he added.

Following this, Estoperez said efforts are now being done to improve local palay production to lessen the country’s dependence on importation.

The official also said that the government still targets to achieve the P20 per kilo of rice promised by President Marcos during the campaign period in 2022.

“We can still hit the P20 per kilo on the assumption that we provide all the farm inputs needed by our farmers,” he said.

According to Estoperez, the government’s focus is to attain food security and address the impact of climate change.

“The problem is climate change, that is why the President said it is important to address food security and climate change. We can still achieve food security but we cannot prevent the movement in the retail prices every time there is a calamity,” he noted.

Based on monitoring of the DA, the retail prices of local regular milled rice are pegged to as high as P44 per kilo; local well-milled rice, P49 per kilo; local special rice, P60 per kilo; imported well-milled rice, P48 per kilo; imported premium rice, P50 per kilo and imported special rice, P58 per kilo.

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2023/07/31/2285060/no-rice-shortage-amid-egay-onslaught-da QR Code

Published Date: July 30, 2023

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