Philippines has enough rice supply – Palace

07.02.2018

Quoting Secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio Evasco, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said there is a standby order for 250,000 metric tons of rice to ensure enough supply in the market.  Miguel de Guzman

Malacañang yesterday assured the public that the rice supply situation in the country is under control following reports that there is a shortage of the staple.

Quoting Secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio Evasco, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said there is a standby order for 250,000 metric tons of rice to ensure enough supply in the market.

Evasco is chairman of the National Food Authority Council. The NFA imports rice and sells this at a cheap price to ensure that poor households will have access to the staple.

“He says the situation really is under control,” Roque said in a press briefing.

Previous reports said the dwindling supply of the NFA rice has led to higher prices and forced low-income Filipinos to buy more expensive varieties.

The price of NFA rice ranges from P27 to P32 per kilogram while commercial rice varieties of comparable quality cost P36 to P41 per kilogram.

The Philippine Statistics Authority previously reported that the prices of regular and well-milled rice have risen by P1 to P3 pesos per kilo in six regional centers including Metro Manila.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, chairman of the Senate committee on agriculture, explained that the rice supply of NFA is just depleting because the NFA sent its stocks to calamity-stricken areas.

“Only NFA is having shortage of rice but for the entire country, there is no insufficiency of supply. Only NFA warehouses are running short of stocks because they don’t buy from the farmers and they cannot import so we will discuss why this is happening,” she said in a radio interview yesterday.

Villar will file a Senate resolution calling the NFA to explain the situation to the public.

The senator also said she will summon the NFA regarding the shift from quantitative restrictions on rice to tariffication. Villar wants to know the role of the NFA on tarrification because under the new system, importation can be done without paying tariff.

The Philippines is short by five percent of its rice production. The country needs about 500,000 metric tons of rice every year.

Villar said the five percent shortage in rice production can be remedied by planting in-bred rice seeds, which can produce six metric tons per hectare.

Villar is monitoring the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) regarding the use of in-bred rice seeds.

“That way, our production will increase. PhilRice will teach the technology to farmers, while PhilMech will provide machines so they can produce more and lessen post harvest losses so we become self-sufficient and we will not import rice anymore,” she said.

“So that we will become competitive with Vietnam, so there will be no more smuggling, no more cartel because we will have enough supply and we will produce it at a competitive price. We need to use in-bred seeds and mechanize. That’s the way to produce more.”

“We can do it for as long the Department of Agriculture will do its work,” she added.  


philstar
 

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