President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has assured the public of a stable supply of rice as the harvest begins in major palay-producing regions.
He noted that that they are paying attention to the farmgate price, as this is a factor affecting the current price increase, along with the importation of inputs and rice.
“Binabantayan namin nang mabuti ang pag supply ng ating bigas at pagbantay sa tumataas na presyo ng bigas at mayroon naman tayong balita na nagsimula na ang pag-aani sa Nueva Ecija, sa Isabela, at saka sa North Cotabato. Kaya’t ito’y magdadagdag sa supply natin. Ang binabantayan syempre natin ‘yung farmgate price, dahil ‘yun ang nag pataas sa presyo ngayon at pati ‘yung pag-import ng mga ibang inputs at saka ng bigas mismo,” Marcos said.
Marcos said he is optimistic that rice prices would stabilize once supply and sufficient reserves are established.
Dr. Leo Sebastian, the undersecretary for rice industry development at the Department of Agriculture (DA), also mentioned that the initial harvest of palay from the three provinces will augment the rice supply and stabilize the price of this staple.
He mentioned that the harvest has already begun in the provinces of Isabela, Nueva Ecija, and North Cotabato, producing an estimated 900,000 metric tons (MT).
He mentioned that the initial palay harvest from the ongoing wet season cultivation would extend until September.
Sebastian pointed out that farmers in these regions managed to sow their crops as early as May, preceding the harvest schedules of other rice-producing zones.
“Palay harvest will peak in late September to October, contributing largely to the country’s second semester (July to December) production, estimated at more than 11 million metric tons (MMT),” Sebastian said.
“Barring strong typhoons in the coming months that may adversely affect Central and Northern Luzon, we are aiming to harvest up to 11.5 MMT in the second semester of the year. This would breach the 20-million MT total national palay production, making it a record, being the highest in the country’s history,” he added.
Last week, Marcos provided a comparable guarantee, stating that there exists a sufficient reserve of rice to endure well beyond the upcoming El Niño event next year.
He offered this assurance subsequent to a gathering with key figures from the sector, led by the Private Sector Advisory Council and the Philippine Rice Stakeholders Movement (PRISM), at Malacañang.
“The rice situation is manageable and stable. There is enough rice for the Philippines up to and after the El Niño next year,” Marcos said.
Marcos made the statement after the Department of Agriculture (DA) and PRISM presented the rice supply outlook for the country to him, extending until the end of 2023.
During last week’s meeting, DA Undersecretary Merceditas Sombillo mentioned that even under the low scenario, assuming a maintained level of production, the projected ending stock for 2023 is 1.96 million metric tons (MMT), enough to last for 52 days.
Sombillo stated that the ending stock projection, based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, presents an even better scenario, with the ending stock projected at 2.12 MMT, which would suffice for 57 days.
The Marcos administration expects the Palay harvest season to commence from September to November.