Rice import doesn't mean PH has supply shortage, says agri group

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 12 2020 06:32 PM | Updated as of May 12 2020 06:56 PM

Stall owners start to pack up their goods at the Trabajo market in Sampaloc, Manila, a few hours before the “hard lockdown” on April 23, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – An agriculture group on Tuesday dispelled concerns of a rice shortage in the Philippines after the government moved to import 300,000 metric tons of rice from Vietnam.

Speaking on Teleradyo, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) chairman Rosendo So said rice importation was a contingency measure to boost rice supply in Metro Manila.

“No cause for alarm. Ang stock natin umaabot pa nang 90 days,” he said.

(There’s no cause for alarm. Our country’s buffer stock is 90 days.)

The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday said Vietnam had approved the resumption of rice exports to maintain ample supply in Southeast Asia nations.

“Vietnam is making a valuable contribution in strengthening ASEAN cooperation and internal unity. We need to keep the regional market open for trade and ensure the sustainability of the supply chain among ASEAN member-states, especially for food and other essential goods,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a statement.

The agriculture chief also eased concerns about the country’s rice supply for the year.

“Going into the lean months and onto December 31, 2020, we have enough supply of food, and that includes our major staple – rice,” Dar said.

“We remain consistent that our total projected supply of rice by end of December 2020 would be 17.994 million metric tons (MMT) while our total projected demand would be 14.668 MMT, leaving a year-end inventory of 3.326 MMT.”

On average, a Filipino consumes 118.81 kilograms of rice annually, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported. This is equivalent to 325.5 grams of milled rice daily.

With a current population of 108.66 million Filipinos, the country’s total annual consumption would amount to 12.9 MMT, the DA said.

“We hope this will clarify issues on our rice supply, demand, and consumption situation. Again, we assure the nation that the DA is doing its best to secure the country with enough and affordable food for all,” Dar said.

Watch more in iWant or TFC.tv