DA assures steady supply, prices of rice, other commodities for holiday season

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 20 2023 04:06 PM

MANILA — The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday said it expects prices and supplies of rice and other basic commodities to remain stable for the Christmas season and the New Year.

In a briefing for the House Committee on Agriculture, DA Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said their latest monitoring shows well-milled rice is currently selling at P45/kilo while regular milled is P41/kilo. Prices are expected to rise in December to P48/kilo for well-milled rice and P41 to P43/kilo for regular-milled variety.

De Mesa reported that from July to September this year, there was a modest growth in stocks of 0.22 percent from 3.789 million metric tons the year before to 3.797 million metric tons. 

For the first 3 quarters, total production grew 2.32 percent to 12.8 million metric tons.

As of now, the country still has rice stocks for 80 days which could grow to 90 days or until 2024 once imports come in.

"For the dry season lean months which is mid-January to mid-February, we still have ample supply going into 1st quarter. Our projection is 90 days right now, it's 80 days without additional imports," de Mesa said.

De Mesa said the country is importing 176,000 metric tons in the 4th quarter though generally, the country imported less rice this year than last year.

De Mesa said they also expect harvests to improve.

While onion production for the 3rd quarter is minimal, it will be offset by production in the 4th quarter which should be complemented by imports. 

The price of red onion is P140 to 150/kilo for the local variety.

Newly-appointed DA Secretary Francisco Tiu-Laurel confirmed the data.

"I confirm that the price of sibuyas pula today is P140 and sibuyas puti is P110. I'm closely monitoring this and we will do action para di na mangyari yung nangyari nung nakaraang taon," Laurel said.

Meanwhile, De Mesa said they expect more than 300,000 metric tons of pork but they will also be expecting imports, citing the high demand from industrial users.

De Mesa said there is more than enough production of chicken and chicken eggs to meet needs.

However, there may be a 38-day deficiency in fish in the 4th quarter without additional imports. There was a reduction in fish catch in the third quarter because many were not able to fish, he said.