The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Friday assured the public of a stable supply of rice amid the latest increase in prices.
In an interview, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that the reported P1 to P2 hike in prices of rice being sold in Metro Manila is “normal,” which is trigged by the onset of the lean months.
“Its normal. However, the price increase should not be more than P1 to P2,” Alcala said.
The lean season runs from June to August.
The DA chief said that the National Food Authority (NFA) has started distribution of 187,000 metric tons (MT) of rice purchased from Vietnam earlier this year, which forms part of a government-to-government deal.
“This is part of our strategy to import volume that is needed for buffer stock of the NFA during the lean season,” he said, noting the imported grains will suffice the rice requirement of the country until the next harvest.
The DA-National Rice Program is expecting a shorter lean period this year because of the early cropping scheme currently being implemented.
NFA spokesperson Rex Estoperez also assured the availability of NFA rice in the market all over Metro Manila, adding that the agency will continue to monitor the situation for further intervention.
“At present, NFA sells rice at P27 each kilogram, while well-milled rice and iron-fortified rice are sold at P28 a kilogram,” Estoperez said.
Earlier reports told that the price of well-milled rice in commercial markets went up from P30 to P32 a kilo.
As of June 1, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics said that the country has sufficient supply of rice for the next two months, with 2.31 million MT of rice in various inventories.
“The June 1, 2013, total rice stocks would be enough for 68 days,” the BAS said.
The BAS also reported that as of July 9, the price of regular-milled rice ranged from P32 to P34 a kilo, up from the P30-a-kilo price recorded since 2012.
James Konstantin Galvez