• Govt assures rice, corn stocks ‘enough’

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    The country has enough rice stocks for the next two and a half months, but inventory at government depositories fell below minimum buffer stock requirement at the start of November this year, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) said on Monday.

    In its latest inventory, BAS said that the Philippines’ total rice stock inventory dropped 12.4 percent to 2.44 million metric tons as of November 1 this year, from last year’s 2.78 million MT.

    BAS, however, said that the rice inventory was 37.7 percent higher than the previous month’s level of 1.77 million MT, as the harvest season started.

    Of the total current rice stock inventory, 59.4 percent were at households, 26.1 percent were at commercial warehouses, and 14.5 percent were at the National Food Authority’s (NFA) depositories.

    BAS said that stocks in households would last for 43 days while those in NFA’s depositories and commercial warehouses would be enough for 10 days and 19 days, respectively.

    Compared with previous month’s stock situation, November’s rice stock grew by 60 percent in the households and 33.5 percent in commercial warehouses. However, volume of stocks in NFA depositories, of which 44 percent were imported rice, decreased by 9 percent.

    Against last year’s levels, stocks in commercial warehouses and in NFA depositories were lower by 18.6 percent and 37.1 percent, respectively. On the other hand, rice stock inventory of households increased by 0.6 percent.

    Abnormal consumption
    Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary Dante Delima, who is also the National Rice Program coordinator, said that buffer stocks of the NFA fell below the 15-day buffer stock requirement due to abnormal consumption in areas affected by earthquake in Bohol and Cebu, followed by the devastation by Super Typhoon Yolanda in Central Philippines.

    “At any given day, the NFA should have a 15-day buffer. But the abnormal consumption, since the people and those who are conducting relief operations are buying from the government warehouses, have pulled down security buffer,” Delima said.

    To augment buffer stocks at government depositories, the NFA Council has approved the importation of additional 500,000 metric tons of rice from Vietnam.

    The NFA said that delivery of 200,000 MT of rice would start December 2013, which would replenish the NFA’s buffer stock. The remainder will be shipped early next year.

    For corn, total stock inventory as of November 1, 2013 was at 183,100 MT, or 15.8 percent lower than previous month’s level of 217,400 MT and 7.2 percent below last year’s record of 197,300 MT.

    Compared with previous month, this month’s stock level in the commercial sector increased by 14.1 percent. On the other hand, corn inventories in the households and in NFA depositories were down by 36.1 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively.

    Compared with last year’s record, corn stocks of households grew by 17.2 percent. Corn stocks in commercial warehouses decreased by 27.6 percent.

    Around 51.4 percent of this month’s total corn stock inventory was with the commercial sector. About 42.9 percent were with the households and 5.7 percent were with the NFA depositories.

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