The Department of Agriculture (DA) gave an assurance on Saturday of sufficient rice supply in the country early next year with abundant palay harvest this wet season coupled with rice imports arranged for the third quarter this year.
“Bagama’t umaasa tayo ng additional imports ay very comfortable iyong ating national stock inventory – normally, tinitingnan natin between 60 to 90 days,” Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said in a news forum in Quezon City.
“But with our inventory plus imports, going into the first quarter of next year ay matatag po ang supply ng ating bigas sa buong bansa.”
Explaining the palay production this October, which is the peak of the harvest this wet season, De Mesa said they are expecting 77 days of national rice stock inventory this month.
And once the wet season harvest ends this November, he said they expect about 94 days of national stock inventory.
“So wala pa rito iyong additional imports noong buwan ng Setyembre at katapusan ng third quarter ay umabot sa 271,000 metric tons iyong na-import,” De Mesa explained.
“Ang kabuuan, hanggang end ng third quarter is 2.4 million metric tons. This is 600,000 metric tons lower than three million metric tons of the same period last year.”
With the higher inflation rate last September, De Mesa was asked during the forum if they expect slower inflation as a result of the drop in rice prices in the market.
“Kami ay naniniwala na malaki ang epekto ng pagbaba ng presyo ng bigas. Kasi kung titingnan natin, sa inflation rate, malaking bagay iyong food inflation na contribution – at doon sa food inflation, malaking contribution doon iyong bigas,” the agriculture official said as a response. “At ang tantiya namin, noong nagkaroon ng pag-aaral doon sa inflation, iyong epekto kasi ng Executive Order (EO) No. 39, naramdaman ito towards last week ng September.”
With regard to the President’s EO 39, De Mesa said that they saw a low level of compliance among rice retailers in the initial week of its implementation but it started to pick up in the third and last week of September, reaching 87-percent compliance.
A lot of retailers were selling rice even lower than P41 and P45 a kilo, as it coincided with the start of wet season harvest that started in the last week of August, he said, noting that with the entry of September and the peak October-November harvest, there is even more supply.
“So, we can expect stability in the prices ng bigas and we can also expect na may mga ilang lugar na bababa rin talaga ang presyo sa mga merkado natin.” |PND
(PNA photo by Yancy Lim)