PH has one of Southeast Asia’s biggest rice stocks
Anticipating the severe effects of the world’s worse El Nino, the Philippines, one of the world’s biggest rice importer, was forced to keep one of the largest rice stocks in the Southeast Asia, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said.
Malaya Business Insight, quoting the “Global Food Policy Report 2016” of the IFPRI, said both Indonesia and the Philippines turned to imports to keep food stocks at adequate levels, making rice prices rise substantially in both countries.
The report said cautioned that: “In this potentially volatile context, stable prices of basic commodities, particularly rice, will be of paramount importance in ensuring that the gains made in poverty reduction are not lost.”
National Food Authority director Jerry Imperial said there are 1.1 million metric tons or 22 million sacks of rice in NFA’s warehouses nationwide.
The Food and Agriculture Organization’s rice price tracker observed slight price decreases despite the decline in global inventories.
The lower prices are attributed to the low demand from regular rice importers.
The low demand is due to two reasons: An increase in the stockpile of rice to meet the goals of self-sufficiency among large rice importers; and the full impact of El Nino is not expected until mid-2016.
IFPRI said the Philippines has boosted research and funding to develop drought- and flood-resistant crops to lower dependence on rice imports, stabilize income for farmers and promote food security.
It said the Philippine government earmarked P86.1 billion ($1.9 billion) for its Agricultural Development Program in 2015, which is supposed to boost rice production and improve irrigation in the top rice-producing provinces such as northern Luzon.