The Philippines has enough rice stocks to last for the next three months despite major typhoons that made landfall at the end of last year and concerns of poor harvests due to the adverse effects of El Nino, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported.
In its latest inventory report, the Philippine Statistics Authority-Bureau of Agricultural Statistics said that as of December 1, 2015, the country’s total rice inventory was at 3.44 million metric tons, 13.5 percent higher compared to the 3.03 million MT recorded during the same period a year ago.
The inventory was also up by 10.8 percent from the 3.11 million MT recorded in November 2015 as imported shipments, particularly from Vietnam, continued to arrive.
“The total rice inventory for this month would be adequate for 100 days. Stocks in the
households would be sufficient for 47 days, those in commercial warehouses for 29 days, and those in NFA depositories for 24 days,” the PSA-BAS said.
Of this month’s total rice inventory, 47.8 percent were with households, 28.4 percent were in commercial warehouses and 23.8 percent in NFA depositories.
To ensure stable supply and price of the staple amid droughts, Manila is looking to import at least 1 million metric tons of rice early this year.
Over the past two years, the NFA has relied massively on cheaper imported rice to replenish its buffer stocks in lieu of buying locally grown palay, saying that it cannot compete with private millers and traders.
Buying rice from abroad cuts the agency’s spending on buying and milling locally grown palay and it can earn more and slash losses by selling to consumers at higher prices.
The Department of Agriculture, meanwhile, expects no shortage in the supply of the grain ahead of the lean months as more farmers continued to plant rice after continuous rains late last year.
Due to the movement of the cropping calendar, a shorter lean season may be experienced this year, the DA said.
Traditionally, the lean season in the Philippines starts in July and ends in September. It is also the time when the government, through the National Food Authority, imports rice that would help stabilize price in retail markets.
To recall, the palay sector suffered massively from unrealized plantings as a result of delayed release and inadequate irrigation water, late occurrence of rains, and some areas left fallow.
The wet season should have started mid April but was delayed to June or July due to the lack of water supplies.