Despite the El Niño phenomenon affecting palay production, the country has enough rice stock to last through the next harvest season, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Tuesday.
As of February 1, the rice inventory can cover 87 days, the PSA said in its latest report.
Rice kept by households are sufficient for 30 days, those in NFA depositories are good for 29 days, and those in commercial warehouses could last up to 28 days.
The total rice stock was pegged at 2.94 million metric tons, up 25.2 percent from 2.35 million MT in February 2015.
With the dry season harvest just a couple of months away and imported rice continued to arrive at Philippine ports, the current inventories and the incoming bulk from the harvest are enough to fill the country’s requirements.
A high rice inventory would suggest that Manila, formerly the world’s biggest rice importer, may no longer push through with the planned rice importation to boost the buffer stock during the July-to-September lean season.
The state-run National Food Authority (NFA) is required by law to have at least a 15-day buffer stock at any given time, and 30 days during the lean months.
NFA Administrator Renan Dalisay said the NFA Council and Food Security Committee (FCS) continue to monitor the impact of El Niño on palay crops, noting adding that the government is ready to buy from foreign suppliers up to 500,000 MT as standby volume for the lean months.
“The FCS may decide before June this year on the rice importation scheme. Because we still have sufficient supply, if ever they push through, the arrival of the standby volume may be within July-August, as long as within the lean season,” Dalisay added.