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Monday, June 17, 2024

Farmers group questions PSA’s data on rice stock, production

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The Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) raised concerns over what it called significant gaps between official rice stock and output data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

It said while the PSA reported national rice stocks at 1.64 million tons as of April 1, 2024, enough for 44 days of consumption, calculations based on previous inventories, rice production and documented imports suggested a higher stock level of 2.46 million tons lasting 66 days.

“The discrepancy of about 800,000 metric tons, equivalent to about 22-day supply, is very significant. If the PSA data are correct, it means that our palay output has been overstated all along. They also imply that our rice supply will tighten in the coming months, especially since El Nino’s impact on the second quarter harvest is expected to be more serious,” said FFF national manager Raul Montemayor.

The PSA reported a 2-percent decline in first-quarter 2024 rice production, attributed to El Niño. Yields dropped 1.8 percent, while harvested area decreased minimally by 0.13 percent.

Data, however, showed that rainfed areas, typically more vulnerable to dry spells, fared better than irrigated farms.

“Inexplicably however, rainfed areas appear to have been less affected than irrigated farms despite the lack of rain. The percentage reduction in output and yield in irrigated areas was about double that in areas dependent on rainfall,” Montemayor said.

The FFF urged the PSA to review its data gathering methods and synchronize them with the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) information systems.

The collaboration, the group said, would help avoid confusion and miscalculations in determining rice stock levels and production figures.

Montemayor said this was not the first time the FFF flagged data inconsistencies. They pointed out potential overestimations of 2022 palay output by nearly 25 percent, or 5 million tons, based on the PSA’s year-end inventory figures.

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