Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol
MANILA, Philippines – There is no shortage of rice supply.
This was the assurance of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol amid speculations of supply shortage eventually causing price hike in rice.
“Tumaas ang presyo ng bigas at ang mga traders naman in response doon sa pagtaas ng presyo ng bigas, nagpaligsahan sa pagbili ng what ever the available harvest there was,” the Secretary said.
Earlier today, Piñol met with rice industry stakeholders including farmers, dealers and retailers to confirm the true state of the country’s rice supply as well as the movement of rice prices in local markets at present.
Piñol said, though they assured that there is enough supply of rice in the country, the overall buffer stock, comprised of those stocked in households, those out in commercial markets and those inside the warehouses of the National Food Authority (NFA), is enough for nationwide consumption of only up to 45 days.
The Agriculture Secretary explained that there were delays in deliveries of imported rice because of port congestion and successive days of monsoon rain.
He noted that because of the speculations, the price of commercial rice shot up.
Meanwhile, rice millers assured that there is no hoarding of supply at this time.
“Some millers from Central Luzon, ang supply nila nanggagaling sa amin. Pag bumili sila sa amin binibigyan namin sila ng palay para meron silang ma-mill dito sa Central Luzon. Iyon ang actual na nangyayari sa Isabela kaya there is no hoarding,” explained Ernesto Suvia of Golden Harvest Rice Mill.
For now, the DA said they trust the traders and millers that rice supply in the country is indeed enough.
However, the agency said they still have to validate if such state is true.
“But I told them that government reserves the right to validate. And validation would mean the inspection of their warehouses with warning that anybody caught hoarding rice will be prosecuted and the stocks will be confiscated,” Secretary Piñol warned.
Meanwhile, the DA is now contemplating on another importation of rice supply in preparation for the possible effects of el niño that is likely to occur in the last quarter of the year. – Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo