‘Wild, inexplicable’ rice data hit
MANILA -The Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) questioned the “inexplicable swings” in the rice inventory figures of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) even though domestic farmers harvested more of this staple food in the first three months of 2023.
FFF national manager Raul Montemayor flagged two possible scenarios as to why the country’s rice stockpile declined in April: either the volume of imported rice that entered the country slightly dropped or Filipinos consumed more rice.
“Some of the palay harvested in the latter part of the first quarter might not have entered the rice market yet by April 1.
Or there could have been a slight increase in consumption,” Montemayor said in a mobile phone message.
Based on the FFF’s computation, total supply stood at 5.79 million MT.
Beginning inventory stood at 1.85 million MT while local production reached 3.13 million MT.
The Philippines also imported 811,845 MT of rice in the first three months of this year, the group noted, citing the Bureau of Customs’ data.
So far, the volume of rice utilized totaled 3.71 million MT, mostly for human consumption.
This leaves the country with total rice stocks of 2.07 million MT as of April 1 against the PSA’s figure of 1.84 million MT—reflecting a difference of 233,101 MT.
Montemayor also said local farmers harvested more rice during the period in question.
PSA figures revealed palay output increased by 5.7 percent to 4.80 million MT in the January to March period.
“So the only thing that can explain the drop in inventory, aside from the slight decline in imports, is increased rice consumption which is hard to believe,” he said.
“For some time now, we have been doubting the accuracy of PSA data. There are wild and inexplicable swings in their inventory figures,” he added.