PH buffer stock of rice dwindling
MANILA, Philippines–With the April-September rice-production lean months settling in, the country’s national stock of milled rice shrank by 8.5 percent to 2.31 million tons as of June 1, from 2.52 million tons a month earlier.
According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the overall inventory is good for 68 days’ consumption, which is six days less than in the beginning of May.
The state-run National Food Authority (NFA) is holding about 17 percent of the total stock, which is good for 12 days.
NFA stock has gone down from the previous 14 days and is still below the mandated buffer stock of 15 days.
The NFA is responsible for maintaining a buffer stock that should last half a month which, at a national consumption rate of 34,000 MT daily, is about 500,000 MT.
Based on the government’s measure of rice self-sufficiency, supply must exceed yearly demand by 90 days’ worth of buffer stock.
As of the start of June, the NFA’s rice stock decreased by 13 percent over the past month even as the agency awaits additional shipments from Vietnam.
Last April, the NFA bid out contracts for a total 800,000 tons, which is meant to arrive in 200,000-ton monthly installments until August.
Also, the rice stocks of households decreased by 18 percent while those of commercial warehouses increased by 12 percent.
Less than half of the total stock, or 32 days’ worth of consumption, was in the hands of households while about one-third, or 24 days’ worth, was in commercial warehouses.
Households were holding 1.08 million tons by volume while commercial warehouses kept 820,000 tons.
The newly installed NFA administrator, Arthur Juan, said the agency was considering an additional purchase of 200,000 tons from Vietnam amid efforts by authorities to curb the rising prices of commercial milled rice.
The NFA said it intends to maintain until September the doubled release of the grain to markets nationwide—at 25,800 tons daily—of regular-milled rice priced at P27 a kilo and well-milled rice at P32 a kilo until September.
In a related development, the Department of Agriculture said it is aiming for rice harvests to reach some 59.7 million tons in the three years to 2016 to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of the staple.
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