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PBBM assures Filipinos of DA’s sufficient buffer stock of rice despite ‘Egay’ effects on agri

MANILA -- President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. assured the Filipino people that the Department of Agriculture (DA) has enough buffer stock of rice despite the massive agricultural damage left by super typhoon Egay in Northern Luzon. 

In a short video message, President Marcos said that he met with the DA officials on Tuesday and discussed the effects of ‘Egay’ on the country’s rice production and the ways to ensure a sufficient supply of rice. 

“Mukha naman, sa ngayon, the supply is ok,” President Marcos, who is also the concurrent DA Secretary, said shortly after meeting the agriculture officials at the Malacañan Palace. 

President Marcos met with the DA officials, a few days after super typhoon Egay hit some parts of Northern Luzon, leaving approximately PhP1.94 billion-worth of agricultural damage. 

The chief executive, however, said that they are still looking thoroughly at some “agricultural inputs” as far as the effects of ‘Egay’ is concerned to ensure that the price of rice in the market will not increase. 

With rice supply projected to reach 5.47 million metric tons (MMT) in the third quarter of 2023 and demand expected to reach 3.79 MMT, ending stock in the third quarter is projected at 1.69 MMT, enough to last 45 days at present consumption, according to the DA. 

Aside from the effects of super typhoon Egay, President Marcos said that they also discussed during the meeting with the DA officials the department’s preparations for the buffer stock with regard to the expected occurrence of the El Niño phenomenon.  

“So, gumawa na…kami ng schedule kung saan tayo kukuha ng production; kung saan tayo bibili dito sa local; kung kailangan mag-import, mag-i-import na naman tayo,” President Marcos said. 

“Mabuti naman at sa usapan namin, nakita naman na ang pag-import natin ng bigas ay pababa naman nang pababa. Ngunit pagka may emergency na ganito ay kailangan talaga nating tignan kung nangangailangan pa ng pag-import,” he added. 

While talking about the possibility of importing rice, President Marcos clarified that it has to be studied carefully. 

The chief executive also emphasized that the DA assured him of enough supply of rice and corn seeds and high-value crops that will be distributed to affected farmers. 

The DA will distribute 111,873 bags of rice seeds; 14,426 bags of corn seeds; and, 2,582 kilograms of assorted vegetable seeds to regions affected by Egay as it recommended to ramp up local production of rice and production support to ensure a sufficient supply of rice and other agricultural commodities. 

It also recommended to fast-track efforts for the distribution of readily available assistance to rice farmers, especially those in calamity-stricken areas, and ensure the availability of the Quick Response Fund for the immediate rehabilitation of affected areas to be augmented by credit assistance. 

Exploring the possibility of immediate procurement of available rice stocks at the lowest accessible price, to cover the 15-day buffer stock, subject to compliance with the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) and its implementing rules and regulations, is one of the DA’s recommendations. 

The DA also recommended to ensure the availability of affordable rice, especially to the less fortunate households, through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or the Food Stamp Program and to mobilize local government unit (LGU) resources in responding to calamities. (PND)

About the Author

Kate Shiene Austria

Information Officer III

Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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