PH rice supply enough for 3 months
MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos have an adequate supply of rice for up to 3 months, based on the government’s latest count of the country’s staple food.
Combined inventory of rice from commercial and government warehouses in December 2014 reached 3.03 metric tons (MT), according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The bulk is 2.7% higher when compared to November 2014’s inventory at 2.95 MT, and is enough to feed the country for 89 days, said the PSA.
Year-on-year, the rice supply improved from December 2013’s count of 2.49 MT.
The uptrend of the combined inventory was due to an increase in the volume of rice stocks in commercial warehouses at 8.3% month-on-month, as well as the increase in National Food Authority (NFA) depositories at 62%.
Neighboring grain exporters Vietnam and Thailand are the country’s suppliers of the staple food in 2014.
In October last year, both countries bagged a contract from the NFA to supply the Philippines with 500,000 MT of rice for buffer stock.
Apart from importing grains, PSA’s Bureau of Agricultural Statistics said domestic rice production is forecast to have increased by 2.4% in 2014 than in 2014.
“The increase could be attributed to the improvement in yield from 3.89 MT per hectare to 3.98 MT per hectare,” it said.
Keeping the rice supply in check is crucial because it tames the grain’s retail price in the market, and maintaining stronger consumer confidence in effect.
Households held 51.7% share of the country’s total rice stock inventory in December, while 32.3% were in commercial houses, and the remaining 16% at NFA depositories.
Increasing rice production
Rice production in the Philippines has been on the uptrend for the past 3 years. Between 2010 and 2013, milled rice production grew by an average of 4.04%, according to the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).
As such, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is expanding its research and development efforts on rice to further improve the production of the staple.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the agency intends to intensify the commercialization of diversified and integrated rice-based farming systems through the Palayamanan model to increase farmers’ productivity and incomes.
In the Palayamanan model, farmers are taught to combine rice growing with the cultivation of vegetables and other high value crops, as well as fish and livestock raising.
DA promotes the technology through PhilRice and the National Rice Program.
In 2014, rice harvest is projected to have reached 18.88 million MT, 2.4% higher than the 2013 record output of 18.44 million MT.
DA is also banking on its current partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), in support of the government’s food security blueprint called the Food Staples Sufficiency Program.
“The department also intends to engage in profiling, finger printing, and purification of traditional varieties with export potentials,” Alcala said. – Rappler.com