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Rice stocks down in October

MANILA, Philippines, November 23 ------ The country’s rice inventory slightly declined by two percent in October, but the government continues to assure that supply of the commodity is sufficient. Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that total rice inventory stood at 2.04 million metric tons (MT) as of October, slightly down by 1.9 percent from the 2.08 million MT recorded the previous year. On a monthly basis, however, this marked a 32 percent improvement from the previous month’s stock of 1.55 million MT.

Commercial warehouses had more than half of the total inventories at 52.9 percent, while households held about 44.9 percent. Supplies from the National Food Authority depositories comprised 2.2 percent of the total. On a monthly basis, rice stocks inventory in households, commercial warehouses and NFA depositories all went up by 52.9 percent, 19.8 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

In a recent statement, Agriculture Secretary Francisco Laurel said the DA is closely watching the market and is taking steps to assure sufficient supply of food items, including rice, at affordable prices. Laurel said he gave importers less than five weeks to use the permits granted to them to buy an additional one million metric tons of rice from abroad to boost local stocks. “I told them that if they don’t use it within 30 days, I will cancel (their permits) because I don’t want to be held hostage by permits that were issued to them upon their request,” Laurel said.

For this year, the DA expects total palay harvest to exceed 20 million MT while rice imports are projected at 2.86 million MT. Based on current numbers, the country has a rice surplus of 2.98 million MT which should be enough to last 80 days.



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