Negros Occidental asks NFA to augment its rice supply amid shortage fears
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – The provincial government of Negros Occidental asked the National Food Authority (NFA) to augment its rice supply after projecting a shortage for two months this year.
Provincial agriculturist Japhet Masculino said the province in Western Visayas also eyed more rice imports to address the shortage in the months of June and July.
“We have a constant demand for 600,000 bags of rice per month. In June and July, our supply is lesser than the demand,” he said on Monday, May 4, at a food security forum hosted by the Roman Catholic diocese in Bacolod City.
The province traditionally faces critical rice supply from the end of May until August.
He said the projected harvested area was only 3,200 hectares for June and 5,000 hectares for July. They're looking at a deficit of 383,000 bags in June and 378,000 bags in July.
“For 2020, the deficit is equivalent to about 762,238 bags of rice at an average of 20,000 bags daily consumption,” Masculino said.
The NFA regional office's reported inventory was not enough to cover the total deficit of Negros Occidental alone, however. It had 1.2 million bags of palay or unhusked rice ready for milling, which was equivalent only to about 720,000 bags of rice.
Masculino said NFA has committed to increase the province's rice allocation from 12,000 bags to 70,000 bags this May. The province asked for 100,000 bags for June and July.
He said up to 120,000 bags of imported rice from Vietnam have just arrived in the city. Masculino said they're eyeing more rice imports to plug the shortage.
"Vietnam and Myanmar are now accepting offers for importation. It is either through an accredited private importer or the local government unit can import through a consignee,” he said. – Rappler.com