Despite the damage from two consecutive typhoons endured by the palay sector, the country has enough rice stock to last until the next harvest season, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Friday.
As of September this year the Philippines has a rice inventory of 51 days, including 18 days in households, 15 days in NFA depositories, and 15 days in commercial warehouses, according to a PSA stock inventory report.
The rice stock was pegged at 1.78 million metric tons (MT), down by 9.19 percent from 1.96 million MT in September 2015 and 15.57 percent lower than the inventory level of 2.1 million MT in August 2016.
Year-on-year, the rice stock in households increased by 9.94 percent. But the stock in commercial warehouses declined by 10.17 percent and the NFA inventory decreased by 22.10 percent.
Compared with the levels recorded in August, the respected stocks in all sectors were down. The stock in households dropped 9.44 percent, while the inventory in commercial warehouses declined by 15.95 percent and in NFA depositories by 20.66 percent.
The rice stock inventory in September consisted of 35.37 percent in households, 29.42 percent in commercial warehouses, and 35.21 percent in NFA depositories of which 79.76 percent consisted of imported rice.
With La Niña expected to intensify in the coming months, the government is now preparing for using its 250,000 MT standby authority to ensure enough inventory to meet the country’s requirements.
Atty. Halmen A. Valdez, undersecretary at the Office of the Cabinet Assistance System, a unit tasked to supervise the National Food Authority, said a decision might happen this month on the rice importation scheme.
The damage caused by typhoons Karen and Lawin to the palay sector has reached over P8.5 billion, affecting 343,627 hectares in seven regions, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
The losses were equivalent to 516,130 MT of rice crops. Some 272,448 hectares of rice crops might still recover, while 71,176 were totally destroyed.