By Myriam Layaoen, DA StratComms
The country’s rice supply remains on the optimistic side as the Department of Agriculture (DA) projects a 94-day buffer stock by the end of December 2020.
“We would like to inform the public that based on our estimates, the country will enjoy an ending rice inventory of 3.27 million metric tons (MMT) by December 31 this year. That means we will have rice to feed the entire country for 94 more days or three months, up to March 2021,” Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said.
“This will settle once and for all the misconceptions espoused by uninformed quarters on the rice supply outlook, as the DA’s estimate is based on the official data of the Philippine Statistics Authority, and validated on the ground by the DA’s regional field offices,” he added.
“Our rice supply inventory comes from three sources: first, from beginning stock or surplus carried over from the previous year; second, from local production; and thirdly, from imports. Hence, our total rice supply by year-end is estimated at 17.99 MMT, which is 18 percent (%) over our total rice demand of 14.67 MMT,” the DA chief said.
The computation factors in the contribution of the Rice Resiliency Project (RRP) under the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program or the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) kontra Covid-19.
“We expect the rice resiliency project to add at least 1.03 MMT to our current projected local production of 12.76 MMT. This equates to elevating our sufficiency level by 7%, from 87% to 94%,” Secretary Dar said.
“To successfully attain said incremental harvest, we will continue to count on the strong support of local chief executives, particularly of rice-producing provinces, and hard work of our beloved farmers,” said the DA chief.
“We at the DA will see to it that the RRP will be efficiently and effectively implemented on the ground, and more than ever we seek everybody’s support,” he added.
Under the RRP, the DA will provide farmers free quality rice seeds and fertilizers.
It will be implemented on top of the DA’s existing rice programs such as the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), and national inbred and hybrid rice program, thus covering more areas,” Dar said.
With the projections, the DA assures the public of enough rice throughout the enhanced community quarantine and beyond.
“Let us not create unnecessary panic in our food supply. Rest assured we remain keen and forward-looking to squarely address concerns that threaten our food security,” the Agri chief concluded.