By Myriam Layaoen, DA Communications Group

The Department of Agriculture (DA) projects that national rice supply will remain sufficient in the next months amid the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said the country will have a comfortable rice supply good for 84 days by the end of June.

The projected volume factors in the yield increment from the implementation of the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program or the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra Covid-19.

“We earlier said that we have rice supply for the country good for 75 days. With the implementation of the Plant, Plant, Plant Program, we are optimistic to produce an additional 9-day supply going into the lean months of July to September,” secretary Dar said.

For the entire year, rice supply will be sufficient due to the expected harvest from the main wet season crop and import arrivals based on the issued sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPSICs).

By the end of 2020, the DA expects a total rice supply of 18 million metric tons (MMT), which is 18% more than this year’s demand of 14.67 MMT of rice.

“At a conservative assumption of 70% adoption rate of the Plant, Plant, Plant Program interventions on rice, we can produce an additional 1.3 MMT. Add that to our projected local production and imports with SPSICs of 1.86 MT, we will have a year-end stock good for more than three months,” he added.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases already approved the P8.5- billion fund for the Rice Resiliency Project (RRP) under the Plant, Plant, Plant Program.

The RRP aims to boost palay production by the end of 2020 to 22.12 million metric tons (MMT), equivalent to 13.51 MMT of rice.

Right after the current dry season, the DA under its RRP will urge farmers to plant more areas by providing them quality seeds, fertilizers, and appropriate technical assistance.

The RRP will cover more areas this main cropping season, totaling 2.7 million hectares, with 1.2 million hectares under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund to be planted to inbred rice; 550,000 hectares planted to hybrid; and 950,000 hectares to inbred rice.

The DA projects that by end of 2020, six regions will not have enough rice supply, namely: CAR, NCR, IV-A, VII, XI, and BARMM. However, their deficit will be filled in by the other 10 rice-surplus regions.

“Hence, we will pre-position the rice stocks to meet the demands in rice-deficit regions,” secretary Dar said.

“We won’t tire in appealing to our local executives to help us fight this war against COVID-19 and the threat of hunger to the country. Together, we will win and heal as one,” he concluded.

(Photo and article source link)