MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) assured sufficient rice supply in the country early next year with abundant palay (unhusked rice) harvest this wet season, coupled with rice imports arranged for the third quarter this year.
Explaining the palay production this October, which is the peak of the harvest this wet season, DA Assistant Secretary Arnel De Mesa said they are expecting 77 days of national rice stock inventory this month.
Once the wet season harvest ends this November, he said they expect about 94 days of national stock inventory.
“Bagama’t umaasa tayo ng additional imports ay very comfortable iyong ating national stock inventory – normally, tinitingnan natin (Although we expect additional imports, our national stock inventory is at a very comfortable level. Normally, we expect) between 60 to 90 days,” De Mesa said in a news forum in Quezon City.
By the end of the third quarter, the country has 2.4 million metric tons.
Compliance on the price cap on rice under Executive Order 39 picked up during the the third and last weeks of September at 87 percent, de Mesa said.
Retailers even sold rice lower than the mandated per kilo prices of PHP41 (regular milled) and PHP45 (well-milled).
EO 39 was implemented from Sept. 5 to Oct. 4, lifted once prices stabilized.
De Mesa likewise said there will be enough supplies of pork and egg in time for the Christmas season due to improved local production and scheduled meat importations.
He said pork importations are continuing, especially in the fourth quarter, based on the schedule arranged by the Bureau of Animal Industry.
To counter the effect of the African swine fever (ASF), De Mesa said that DA has been carrying out the “BABay ASF” program, in addition to pest control, prevention, biosecurity and repopulation initiative by the department.
This is to ensure that those areas hit by ASF could restart production, De Mesa said, stressing that another promising development is the development of ASF vaccine. (PNA/PND)