PH’s rice inventory not improving at all, declines by 25%

Published September 11, 2018, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Madelaine B. Miraflor

As government officials and lawmakers resort to blame game for the surge in the price of rice in the market, the country’s rice inventory is also not getting any better, falling by 25 percent year-on-year despite the entry of imported stocks.

Failing to procure palay, the National Food Authority (NFA) completely ran out of stocks at the earlier part of this year, the first time it happened in so many years.

This prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to step in and ordered a series of rice importation, which was later on plagued with so many issues such as weevil infestation and its failure to temper, even for once, the increase in the price of rice.

Aside from its insignificant impact on the price, importation, apparently, also did not do anything to augment the country’s rice inventory.

Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that as of August, the total rice stocks inventory was estimated at 1.52 million metric tons (MT), which is 25.01 percent below the previous year’s level of 2.03 million MT. This was also 23.61 percent lower than July’s inventory of 1.99 million MT.

Relative to the previous year’s rice stocks inventory, a drop of 0.26 percent, 42.51 percent and 6.94 percent were observed in the households, commercial warehouses, and NFA depositories, respectively.

Rice stocks inventory level in both households and commercial warehouses declined by 24.79 percent and 28.77 percent, respectively in comparison to their previous month’s levels. Rice stocks in NFA depositories, on the other hand, improved slightly.

Compared to July, stocks for households fell from 992.43 thousand MT to 746.38 thousand MT, which was also lower than last year’s yield of 748.34 thousand MT.

As for commercial, stocks went down to 673.23 thousand MT from previous month’s level of 945.10 thousand MT and last year’s level of 1.17 million MT.

NFA stocks, however, improved from 53.30 thousand MT in July to 101.15 thousand MT in August. This was still lower than last year’s level of 108.69 thousand MT.

For the month of August, about half of the total rice stocks inventory were from the households, 44.27 percent from the commercial warehouses, and the remaining 6.65 percent were from NFA depositories.

At present, the country’s daily consumption requirement is pegged at 32,013 MT or 640,260 bags, which means the country needs 11.5 million MT of rice a year.

For his part, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has remained optimistic that the country will have a record palay output of 19.4 million metric tons (MT) this year.

SINAG Chairman Rosendo So, however, pointed out that the country may need an updated figure on the country’s daily rice consumption.

That, or Piñol may be been citing a data, which normally comes from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), that is inaccurate.

“We should ask them what’s causing the increasing prices. Either the harvest is not that high or our consumption is increasing. But if the price is high, can the public still eat so much rice? So what is really the harvest? Maybe it’s not that huge,” So said in a previous report.

“They already said before that the price will go down when the imported rice enters but it didn’t. It even went up,” he further said.

NFA was recently given the go signal to import 250,000 MT of rice due for arrival in November.
This, according to the agency, can increase its active participation in the market by as much as 20 percent.

On Tuesday, NFA said it is now readying the funds and other logistical requirements it will use for its palay procurement just in time for the forthcoming main crop harvest this October.

NFA Administrator Jason L.Y. Aquino said that the food agency has sufficient funds ready for remittance to field offices to buy farmers produce this cropping season.

As of August 31, 2018, NFA has only procured a total of 75,753 bags.