Puerto Prinsesa City Palawan–The Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA) said that rice production in Palawan may be enough until the end of the year and requests that the provincial board lift the temporary rice exportation ban.

Dr. Romeo Cabungcal, provincial agriculturist told Manila Bulletin Tuesday that there are possible oversupply of rice in Palawan because of the ongoing harvest season.

He said that the rice production of the province would be able to secure the supply of the local demand.

“Mas maganda kung maglift at kung marami ang supply ng bigas. Pero ngayon kasi ay harvest season kaya magiging bastante ang supply natin hanggang December. Isa siguro ‘yon sa titingnan para ilift kasi may sobra tayo,” he said.

(“It would be better if the ban was lifted and we have a good supply of rice. It’s currently harvest season and that will be the basis for our supply until December. That’s one of the factors that will be considered in lifting the ban.”)

He said that rice will be sold at a cheaper price if there are many surpluses.

“Kapag marami kasi tayong surplus ay magiging mababa ang presyo ng bigas dito. Ang sinasabi kasi nila kung hindi malift ay baka mas lalong bumagsak ang presyo ng palay,” Cabungcal said.

(“If we have a lot of surplus, prices will go down, and they say that if the ban isn’t lifted, prices might go down even further.”)

During the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the provincial board, through a resolution, imposed a ban on the exportation of rice to ensure enough supply of the province during a pandemic.

Recently, Palawan’s rice farmers and millers also asked the provincial government to lift the ban on the exportation of locally produced rice, claiming that the current harvest season will ensure the sufficiency of stocks to meet local demands.

Board member Albert Rama also said that they have received a request from local traders and millers to lift the ban which was imposed at the height of the pandemic.

According to the consolidated data of the OPA from different municipal agriculturists, there are a total of 18,388 bags of local rice, 9,197 bags of imported rice, and 159,107 bags of available stocks from the towns of Aborlan, Narra, Sofronio Espanola, Quezon, Rizal, Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Taytay, San Vicente, Dumaran and Araceli.

Rama said that traders and millers said that they have already harvested tons of rice.

“We declared a moratorium para ma-secure ang ating rice supply during that time at ngayon ay harvest season na ay nagre-request na sila na i-lift ito on the reason na marami na daw palay. Pag-uusapan namin ito kung magre-recommend kami for lifting,” Rama said during his privilege speech during the regular session recently.

(“We declared a moratorium so we could secure our rice supply during that time and now that it’s harvest season, they’re requesting that it be lifted for the reason that there’s now a lot of rice supply. We will discuss if we will recommend lifting the ban.”)

Palawan has 116,194 hectares of total rice area coverage in 2019.