MANILA -- The Department of Agriculture yesterday said the country had a production surplus of 464,820 kilos of rice in 2012.
DA Assistant Secretary Dante Delima, National Rice Program Coordinator, said palay production was estimated to reach 18.03 to 18.05 million metric tons (MT), higher than the 17.98 million MT forecast by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) last year.
Delima said initial data revealed that the country already met the requirement needs of its rice supply for a population of 95.8 million Filipinos.
"With a 1.90 percent annual growth rate, the country’s total population is now estimated at around 95.8 million with per capita rice consumption placed at 115 kilos. At this rate, annual rice consumption is pegged at 11.02 million MT," he said.
"If we compare the population rate with our production of 18.03 million MT, minus the 351,763 MT seed requirement for planting, our total rice equivalent at 65 percent recovery rate is around 11.492 million MT… more than enough to supply our food requirement," he added.
Delima, however, said that consumption requirement excludes the rice wastage and use in other purpose other than food, saying that a review of the rice sufficiency data will confirm their estimates.
The DA is currently pushing for a review of its rice sufficiency data, citing that the expected record-high palay production in 2012 is "already enough" to cover consumption requirements of the 95.8 million Filipinos.
Delima said that they would start the review of rice sufficiency targets next month in line with the latest population and per capita consumption data provided by the National Statistics Office (NSO).
Despite the surplus in production, however, Delima said the government may still import about 100,000 MT of rice this year to be used as buffer stock, noting that the government needs to secure at least a 90-day rice supply to ensure stable prices.
He also said that, traditionally, they are only required to have at least 30-day buffer stock. But for security proposes, they have hiked the rice stock requirement to about 90 days. This will help the National Food Authority to stabilize prices and ensure that there is enough supply if there are calamities.*PNA