NFA: Rice buffer stock enough for 78 days
The country’s rice buffer stock as of January remains sufficient and is expected to last for more than two months, according to a monitoring report by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Rice inventory from the National Food Authority (NFA), households, and commercial warehouses reached 2.5 million metric tons (MT), up 11.4 percent from its level a year ago but 6.23 percent less than the available stocks the month prior. With a daily rice requirement of 32,000 MT, this is equivalent to 78 days’ worth of stocks.
Nearly half of the total, or about 1.25 million MT, were stored in households, while 1.21 million MT were in commercial warehouses. Around 97,000 MT of rice, mostly imported, were in NFA depositories.
Rice stocks level in the household and NFA depositories declined by 18.4 percent and 4.14 percent from the previous month’s levels, respectively, while stocks in commercial warehouses increased by 10.65 percent.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said they were expecting harvest this first semester to be bountiful given favorable weather conditions, while the expected enactment of the Rice Tariffication Bill was seen to amp up national supply. The bill would allow rice imports to flow freely into the country while giving ample protection for local farmers.
As of the fourth week of January, PSA data showed retail prices of regular-milled and well-milled rice registered slight decreases, while the average farm-gate price of palay continued to decline for the fourth consecutive week.
Industry groups are expecting the farm-gate price of palay to decline further with the onset of the harvest season and the entry of imported rice.
Imports commissioned by the NFA last year continued to arrive in the country. As of Feb. 4, nearly 80 percent of the imports have already come in while the remaining volume should arrive before the end of the first quarter.
More imports are expected to flood the market following the directive of President Duterte to ease the restrictions on importing agricultural commodities, including rice.
Nonetheless, NFA said it has been assisting local rice farmers with its aggressive procurement activities. For January, it was able to procure 146,319 bags of palay—way above its previous year’s level of 320 bags.
Both the Department of Agriculture and the NFA see no shortfall happening in the country’s rice supply anytime soon.
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