Agri department assures of enough rice supply after gov't halts importation

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 02 2020 02:30 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/File

MANILA - The Philippines has enough rice supply, the Department of Agriculture assured the public Thursday, after Malacañang announced that it would no longer push through with its plan to import 300,000 metric tons of rice under a government-to-government scheme.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said there are enough stocks for 82 days as he noted that the government would have enough supply of the staple grain coming in for the whole year.

"As of this month, mayroon pa tayong 82 days to last...Mayroon po tayong sapat na pagkain," he said in a virtual press briefing.

(We have enough stocks for 82 days as of this month. We have enough food.)

The Palace earlier this week said the country no longer needs to import 300,000 metric tons of rice since there is enough supply to go around.

It can be recalled that the government's pandemic task force approved the importation of rice in March as a contingency. 

The Philippine International Trading Corp was supposed to arrange the purchase through government-to-government arrangements.

Dar said the agriculture department is working to increase the production of local farmers especially during the coronavirus pandemic as food security remains a priority.

"We are going to work with and assist the domestic producers, the farmers and fishers to level up their production," he said.

The agriculture department earlier said that the country's total annual consumption of rice would amount to 12.9 million tons, with the current population of 108.66 million Filipinos.