Text by Tracy Cabrera / Photo by Benjamin Cuaresma
BEGINNING this month, there will be an increase in rise supply as harvests from the wet season palay (paddy rice) cropping are expected to come in, according to agriculture secretary William Dar.
As early as August, the agriculture chief had given assurance that the country will have enough rice for the rest of the year, despite the implementation of a protracted community quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic and other developments, notably the flooding in China which is feared to have an impact on the global rice market.
From August, Dar said the Philippines have at least 53 days of rice inventory.
“Our second quarter palay production of 4.125 million metric tons is a testament that reforms being instituted under the rice tariffication law are starting to bear fruit. Barring adverse typhoons and natural disasters in the remaining months of the year, we expect a record palay output this year of 20.34 million MT, which is 8 percent higher than the 2019 production,” he said.
“Our palay sector continues to exceed expectations despite challenges and the ongoing health crisis that we are facing, including other concerns, amid these challenging times,” he added.
Dar said there is no room for complacency, especially in view of the ongoing health crisis that has impacted the economy and since last year, officials of the agriculture department has been on their toes to fulfill its commitment that there will be ample supply for the whole country.
Earlier in his stewardship of the agency, Dar had already drawn up several rice supply scenarios to come up with a clearer projection on the ending rice stock inventory.
“All scenarios show comfortable levels of rice supply by the end of the year, which at best would be good for 98 days, and at worst, we would still have an ending stock good for 90 days,” he said despite the adverse effects of the pandemic on the agriculture sector.
Many farmers have been gravely affected by the economic downturn but much needed assistance is being provided by government to lessen the ill effects which could jeopardize food supply across the country.