Rice stocks at 'comfortable’ levels

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has guaranteed a national rice supply, following President Ferdinand „Bangbang” Marcos Jr.’s recent assertion that thanks to the efforts of Filipino farmers and the bountiful harvest, the country will enjoy a strong rice supply early next year. The stock balance is at a „comfortable” level.

„With our (rice) inventory and importation, the supply of rice across the country will be sufficient in the first quarter of next year,” DA Assistant Secretary Arnel de Meza told a forum.

With jackfruit production this October, which is the peak of the wet season harvest, de Mesa said we expect 77 days of national rice reserves this month.

He said this may increase to 94 days once the monsoon harvest ends in November.

„This does not even include additional imports that reached 271,000 metric tons at the end of September and the third quarter,” De Mesa added.

„Overall, it stands at 2.4 million metric tons by the end of the third quarter. This is 600,000 metric tons less than the three million metric tons in the same period last year,” he said.

The DA official expressed hope that the country’s inflation rate will moderate after rising to 6.1 percent in September from 5.3 percent listed in August.

„We believe rice prices will be affected and if we look at it, food inflation has contributed to it,” he said. „In our estimation, the effect of Executive Order No. 39 was slowly felt in the last week of September.”

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De Mesa said they saw a low level of compliance among rice retailers in the initial week of implementation of EO 39, which set a price ceiling for regular and well-milled rice. Compliance reached 87 percent in the third and last week of September, he said.

Several retailers were selling rice at less than B41 and B45 per kg, coinciding with the start of the wet season harvest that began in the last week of August, the official said. With September entry and peak October-November yield, there will be high inflow, he said.

Therefore, we can expect stability in the price of rice and further reduction in prices in some areas, he said.

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