Prices of commercial rice across Western Visayas continue to be abnormally high with Regular Milled Rice hovering between P36-40 a kilo.
This is because peak harvest season has not yet arrived and begins on the last week of September, Agriculture Regional Executive Director Larry Nacionales said.
Although some areas in the region like Pototan and San Enrique towns in Iloilo have started to harvest, Nacionales said it is still not enough to satisfy the consumption requirements of the populace, and inasmuch as the bulk of freshly-cut palay is still stored in warehouses waiting for the milling process.
Current price of palay stands at P16 a kilo, but eventually is expected to come down to P12 a kilo as harvest climaxes in a few weeks from now.
He said, however, that NFA rice continues to be affordable at P25 a kilo.
Nacionales also said that starting in 2014, the Department of Agriculture's Farm Mechanization Program is going to focus in providing assistance invarious forms to irrigators associations to provide more muscle to the Aquino Administration's lofty aim of rice self-sufficiency for the country by 2016.
He said fewer threshers and hand tractors will be given to individual farmers next year, as the agency's thrust is to equip irrigators associations with dryers, milling machines, and warehouses and in turn, the irrigators are to act as service providers to farmer-members.
To boost yields, farmers will receive help in land preparation, and all the way to the crucial period of harvesting, milling, and marketing.
Malacanang, meanwhile, assured rsday there is ample rice supply in the market.
"We have sufficient [rice] supply…" Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said, adding that they will verify reports that several rice retailers have been selling only two kilos of rice per customer."
The National Food Authority allayed fears of a rice shortage and said they have over 652,000 metric tons of rice in stock to last for 18 days.
NFA administrator Orlan Calayag said as of their Aug 27 inventory, there are 2.113 million metric tons of rice in stock to last for 64 days.*PNA