MANILA, Philippines - The country still has enough supply of rice despite the billions of pesos worth of lost palay (unhusked rice) to supertyphoon Juan, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said Thursday.
“Sana po huwag mag-panic ang mga tao. May enough supply ng bigas para sa mga kababayan natin (People should not panic. We have enough supply of rice for them),” Alcala told ABS-CBN’s morning show, “Umagang Kay Ganda.”
Alcala said that the volume of palay damaged by the typhoon in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and Cordillera Administrative Region represents only 3% of the total projected rice harvest this year.
He said that as of Wednesday night, the typhoon’s estimated damaged to agriculture has ballooned from P1.3 billion to P4.77 billion. He said the damage was based on assessments in the 4 hardest-hit regions in Northern Luzon.
He said rice lands suffered the most damages with P3.78 billion followed by high value crops pegged at P598.41 million, corn P312.28 million, fisheries P47 million and livestock P29.63 million.
Alcala said that the estimated damage may still increase as the Department of Agriculture continues to assess the situation of agriculture in the devastated regions in the north.
The agriculture chief also warned rice suppliers against unnecessary increases in the prices of rice.
Meanwhile, Alcala said that the government would not be able to control the increasing prices of vegetables in Metro Manila because of the slim supply that would be coming from Cagayan Valley due to the typhoon.
He said he has asked major suppliers in the Southern Luzon regions to conduct early harvest to augment the supply of vegetables in Metro Manila.
Reports said that prices of vegetables in Metro Manila markets have gone up by P10 to P20 per kilo.