Palawan’s rice farmers are asking the provincial government to lift the ban on the exportation of locally produced rice, claiming that the current harvest season will ensure sufficiency of stocks to meet local demands.
Board member Albert Rama said on Tuesday that they have received a request from local traders and millers to lift the ban which was imposed at the height of the pandemic.
“During the pandemic, we passed an ordinance imposing a ban on the export of rice to secure and ensure the supply of rice for the province of Palawan at a time. But today, the harvest season is being started, a group of traders submitted a letter to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan last week requesting the august body for the lifting the ban,” Rama said.
The provincial agriculture office, however, in a letter addressed to the board, said they are anticipating a shortfall in local supply even with the coming harvest season.
Provincial agriculturist Dr. Romeo Cabungcal said the current rice stocks in the province stands only at over 131,000 bags or 6.5 metric tons, which is not enough to meet a project consumption demand of 37 metric tons during the ending quarter of the year.
“Based on the computation of the rice consumption wherein the data capita consumption is .129857, the demand for rice for October to December 2020 is 37,189.84 metric tons based on the provincial population of 1,145,607,” Cabungcal stated in his letter.
“In comparison with the available rice stocks which are only 6,550.22 metric tons, there is a gap, a negative gap of 30,639.84 metric tons, in addition, due to the damages caused by floods brought about by the typhoon last week many of rice area that is supposed to harvest was affected,” he added.
According to the consolidated data of the OPA from different municipal agriculturists, there are a total of 18,388 bags of local rice, 9,197 bags of imported rice, and 159,107 bags of available stocks from the towns of Aborlan, Narra, Sofronio Espanola, Quezon, Rizal, Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Taytay, San Vicente, Dumaran and Araceli.
Rama said that traders and millers said that they have already harvested tons of rice, however, Palawan needs more 37,189.84 metric tons until the end of the year based on the data of OPA.
“We declared a moratorium para ma-secure ang ating rice supply during that time at ngayon ay harvest season na ay nagre-request na sila na i-lift ito on the reason na marami na daw palay. Ni-refer ‘yan sa committee at lumalabas doon sa inventory ng provincial agriculture sa palay and rice kung ipo-project natin hanggang December ay kukulangin tayo. Pag-uusapan namin ito kung magre-recommend kami for lifting,” Rama said.