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PH rice supply to last even after El Niño – PBBM

09 August 2023

ENOUGH RICE SUPPLY. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. meets with private sector stakeholders at the State Dining Room of Malacañan Palace in Manila on Tuesday (Aug. 8, 2023) to discuss the status of the rice industry. During the meeting, Marcos guaranteed that the country has enough supply even after the El Niño phenomenon next year. (Screenshot from Radio Television Malacañang)

MANILA – The country’s rice stockpile could last even after the El Niño phenomenon next year, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has assured the public.

His assurance came after he met with industry players led by the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) and the Philippine Rice Stakeholders Movement (PRISM) at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Tuesday.

“The rice situation is manageable and stable. There is enough rice for the Philippines up to and after the El Niño next year,” said Marcos, who also serves as head of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The El Niño phenomenon might persist until the first quarter of 2024, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration earlier said.

The President convened the meeting to discuss with stakeholders the status of the rice industry and measures to ensure sufficient rice supply in the country, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Garafil said.

Garafil said the DA and PRISM presented to Marcos the rice supply outlook for the country until the end of 2023.

Based on a statement posted on state-run Radio Television Malacañang’s official Facebook page, the DA also briefed Marcos about the country’s current supply situation, factors that threaten the country’s rice production and export, and the import trends and needs.

‘No need to panic’

DA Undersecretary Merceditas Sombillo said the projected ending stock for 2023 is 1.96 million metric tons (MMT), enough to last for 52 days.

Sombillo added that the Philippine Statistics Authority’s ending stock projection presents an even better scenario as it is expected to be 2.12 MMT, which would last for 57 days.

Palay harvest season is from September to November.

In an interview after the meeting, PRISM lead convenor Rowena del Rosario-Sadicon said the public need not worry because the country has enough rice supply until the end of the year.

“We don’t need to panic for anything else. Kalma lang po tayo (Let’s be calm). It’s very important that we are one in our objective to be positive on this. Mayroon po tayong sapat na bigas (We have enough rice),” Sadicon said.

G2G partnerships

During the meeting at Malacañan, PSAC lead convenor and Aboitiz Group president and chief executive officer Sabin Aboitiz expressed concern over harmonizing data between private rice traders and the DA.

Marcos asked all sectors involved to hold a meeting and work on the basic data before discussions proceed to address rice supply, as well as rice importation.

“We need to have the right numbers so that we can respond properly in time,” he said, adding that continued consultations with the private sector are needed to ensure that the country will have enough rice supply until the end of El Niño.

Marcos also assured that his administration is undertaking more government-to-government (G2G) engagements with its foreign partners to provide immediate attention to the country’s pressing concerns in the rice industry. (PNA)

Source : GOV.PH