LAOAG CITY: The current rice inventory in Ilocos Norte is “sufficient” to cover the lean months from June to September, according to the National Food Authority (NFA).
Ilocos Norte NFA manager Dr. Beverlyn Peralta said the province has a stockpile of 559,000 rice bags stored in various NFA, commercial and private warehouses.
“The stockpile is sufficient and will have to answer for the province’s rice needs until the end of September,” Peralta said explaining that the province’s rice consumption is pegged at 4,400 bags per day.
She said residents have nothing to worry about by the time the rice inventory is consumed because farmers will start harvesting their palay crops by the end of August or early September.
“Besides, we are expecting some 60,000 bags of imported rice from Vietnam in July to augment the province’s rice supply requirement especially during calamities,” Peralta explained.
NFA officials, however, admitted that Vietnam rice costs higher than the regular–milled local NFA rice at P32 per kilogram and P27 per kilogram respectively.
“Vietnam rice is however priced lower than the commercial rice in the province at P39 to P40 per kilo,” Peralta said.
However, NFA records showed that residents still prefer the “commercial rice” from NFA because of its quality and not because it is cheaper than the imported Vietnam rice.
Peralta said NFA rice per bag of 50 kilograms costs P1,200 while a bag of commercial rice costs P2,000.
Meanwhile, officials are urging farmers to sell their palay crops to NFA to replenish their stockpile and help sustain rice requirements in the province.
“As long as we will not export our rice products and no calamities will ravage our province, our stockpile is sufficient even without rice importation,” she said.