Senator Imee Marcos on Tuesday said the government need not import rice until next year, noting that local supply is projected to surpass consumer demand.
“The DA (Department of Agriculture) has no reason to call for any more rice imports which will only push down farmgate prices of palay. Our farmers are doing a great job producing more than ample domestic supply,” Marcos said in a statement.
She also pointed out that there are no remaining valid sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances to justify more rice imports this year, citing the DA’s Rice Supply Outlook.
Marcos explained that the projected 5.13 million metric tons of locally grown rice in the third quarter will exceed domestic demand of 3.7 MMT and provide a buffer stock of 1.43 MMT by the end of September.
In the fourth quarter, local rice supply is expected to reach 6.24 MMT against the demand of 4.02 mm, for an additional buffer stock of 2.22 MMT by the end of December.
In effect, the rice harvests in the third and fourth quarters will provide the country with a total buffer stock of 3.65 million metric tons by yearend, good for 55 to 60 days.
The National Food Authority is required to have a rice buffer stock of 15 to 30 days for national consumption.
Last month, the Federation of Free Farmers, one of the biggest peasant groups in the country, appealed to the national government to amend the Rice Tariffication Law, claiming it does not serve the interest of farmers and consumers.
The FFF also claimed that farmers’ incomes have dropped significantly since the RTL was passed three years ago, due to “excessive” rice imports alongside the rising cost of production.
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