Higher yield seen to stabilize rice trade in Eastern Visayas
Higher rice production in Eastern Visayas is expected to bring down the price of the staple in the region, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Tuesday.
Citing the first semester output forecast issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), DA regional focal person for rice, Remedios Amida, said Leyte and Samar provinces harvested 538,214 metric tons (MT) of rice, higher than the 525,216 harvest in the first half of 2017.
For July to December 2018, the PSA projected a 420,349 MT harvest, same level as last year’s estimates. However, the actual could be higher since the remaining months of the year are considered the region’s rainy season, where rain-fed areas are more productive.
“We expect higher yield this year for as long as we won’t experience strong typhoons and massive flooding in the remaining months of the year. This harvest will ensure more stable supply of rice in our region,” Amida said in an interview.
This year’s estimated rice output is 958,563 MT, higher than the 945,565 MT harvest in 2017. Favorable weather could help the region attain its 1.086 million MT target for this year.
There are at least 272,451 hectares of land planted with rice, slightly lower than the 272,889 hectares cultivated in 2017 due to Typhoon Urduja that battered some areas of the region in December last year.
“The DA is doing its best to raise the production through the distribution of seeds and several interventions strategized in response to disasters. Our buffer stocks of seeds is adjusted if ever we would experience calamities in the later part of the year,” she added.
Prices of commercial rice surged to PHP40 to PHP54 per kg., up from the P35 to P45 price range early this year due to supply shortage, according to traders.
The National Food Authority (NFA) regional office said it is ready to flood the market with cheaper rice, if necessary, to stabilize the price of the staple.
With the availability of NFA rice in the region, the agency began distributing cheaper rice in five provinces of the region in the past two weeks, prioritizing highly populated and impoverished areas.
The region has an allocation of 480,000 bags Thai rice to meet its July to December 2018 requirement. (PNA)