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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

DA says rice supply will be stable with wet season harvest, imports

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Saturday said there will be sufficient rice supply in early 2024 as farmers will be able to harvest enough palay or unhusked rice this wet season.

The DA also said rice imports that arrived in the third quarter of this year will also help the country’s stock.

DA Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said that the country’s national rice stock inventory is currently at a comfortable level, with 77 days of supply expected this October. The official added that once the wet season harvest ends this November, the national stock inventory is expected to last for 94 days.

“With our inventory plus imports, going into the first quarter of next year, the supply of our rice throughout the country will be stable,” De Mesa explained in a weekly news forum in Quezon City.

He noted that the drop in rice prices in the market is likely to have a significant impact on inflation, as food inflation, which includes rice supply as a key factor, is a major contributor to the overall inflation rate.

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De Mesa said that Executive Order (EO) No. 39 impact on inflation was felt towards the last week of September as significant increases in rice compliance among retailers were seen.

“A lot of retailers were selling rice even lower than P41 and P45 a kilo, as it coincided with the start of wet season harvest that started in the last week of August,” he said.

EO 39, issued by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on September 5, imposed mandated price ceilings on rice across the country to slow down the surge of rice prices in the public market.

The DA also said that there would be no shortage of pork and eggs in the market as the Philippines inches closer to the holiday season.

De Mesa said on Saturday that pork imports are continuing, especially in the fourth quarter, based on the schedule arranged by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BPI) last month.

De Mesa also cited said the DA’s effort to halt the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) after new reports of contamination had surfaced.

The official said the DA is implementing the “BABay ASF” program and other measures to counter the effects of the disease, which has affected some areas in the country.

De Mesa said that the testing for the vaccines against ASF and Avian Influenza (AI) are undergoing and showing positive results.

With regard to egg supply, De Mesa said that there is no problem or disruption.

“But because our supply and production of day-old pullets that will become layers in time are stable, the population is good so we don’t see any problem,” the official said. “And the Avian Influenza that affected Central Luzon, although some were affected, they are gradually recovering.”

He explained that egg consumption usually increases during the opening classes as students prefer eggs for breakfast, additionally, De Mesa shared that 40 of the supply goes to industrial users, while 60 percent goes for household consumption.

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