No rice shortage in PH, says DA official | Inquirer News

No rice shortage in PH, says DA official

/ 01:31 PM August 22, 2023

Sacks of rice are stockpiled at the National Food Authority (NFA) warehouse in Quezon City

Sacks of rice are stockpiled at the National Food Authority (NFA) warehouse in Quezon City.

MANILA, Philippines — No rice shortage is foreseen in the Philippines despite the soaring staple food price, a Department of Agriculture (DA) official said on Tuesday.

DA Undersecretary for Rice Industry Development Leocadio Sebastian made the remark during the House Committee on Appropriations hearing on the agency’s proposed budget for next year.


When asked by Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman if there is a rice shortage, Sebastian said: “There is no rice shortage.”


“When our local supply, Mr. Chair, is below the demand, then we would say there is a rice shortage,” Sebastian also said when asked by Lagman what constitutes a rice shortage.

But DA Undersecretary Mercedita Sombilla explained that the spike in rice prices is due to several factors, which she said are “beyond” the agency’s control.

“It is influenced by global prices, which have spiked over time, and local prices and farm gate prices, which have also risen last year primarily from the input cost.

“The reason we need to import is medyo manipis po ang ating stock ngayon (our stock is tapering), and we have to ensure that we have enough before the harvest season comes, in case there is an eventuality that we need to respond to.

“Talagang beyond our control ‘yung pagtaas ng presyo (The rise in prices are beyond our control),” Sombilla explained.

Sombilla also added that importing rice is needed as the country’s rice buffer stock is approaching the “lean months” since the harvest season has just begun.


“Nagha-harvest pa lang tayo; ang peak of harvest natin is sometime October and the middle of November,” she said.

(We are just harvesting; the peak of harvest is sometime in October and the middle of November.)

“We are hoping we could get the rice this month up to the 15th of September so that we can stabilize the local prices,” she added.

Reports said the rice prices surged to about P56 a kilo.

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President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has vowed to go after hoarders and price manipulators, taking advantage of the price increase.


Farmers’ group calls for abolition of NFA for always relying on rice imports

TAGS: Department of Agriculture, price hike, rice shortage

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