NFA expects tight supply of rice in Cotabato region
by EB Costales
General Santos City (4 December) -- Due to series of natural calamities like flash floods, drought and pest infestation that have stricken some of the Asia's major rice exporting countries such as India, Bangladesh, China, Thailand, Vietnam, including Australia, the rice situation in the Asean nations is forecasted to be adversely affected and the Philippines is likely to be affected by tight supply or rice by next year.
National Food Authority (NFA) X11 Director Ernesto M. Macasinag said the government's food authority is currently working for early importation in anticipation of rice deficiency supply by 2008.
NFA has been intensifying procurement in palay to beef up rice security stocks for next year and have raised its buying price for palay up to P11.50/kg inclusive of incentives for CDIF, drying and trucking fees.
Director Macasinag said "we are now working for an additional P0.50/kg GMA incentives on top of the new buying price of P11.50/kg." NFA would conserve stocks especially during the harvest season thus stock inventory that can be generated from this palay procurement season will form part of NFA's rice reserves for the first quarter of 2008, he said.
Macasinag has encouraged farmer cooperatives, including individual farmers to deliver their palay harvest directly to NFA "so we can gather volume of palay stocks for food security purposes in anticipation of 'rice crisis' next year.
The looming rice crisis is greatly affected by the fact that India, which is one of the major rice producing countries in Asia, is predicted to face a rice shortfall of about 5-million tones this year due to the recent calamities that hit the country.
Similarly, Bangladesh lost about 1.4-million tons of rice this year following the agricultural damages caused by the recent massive flooding and continuous torrential rains.
Pest problems in South China, Vietnam and Thailand have caused widespread damages on their crop production, while Australia's rice exports have been wiped out due to drought.
This rice situation was stated in a message of NFA administrator Jessup P. Navarro during a recent meeting of NFA regional directors in Quezon City. Same rice situation was reechoed by NFA assistant regional director Mario M. Gonzales during a regional management committee meeting held at Tacurong City attended by NFA provincial managers and personnel of Cotabato region.
Other indicators that would aggravate rice crisis by next year include: 1) that Vietnam is slowly having conversion of rice land to urban industrialization which implies reduction on rice production; 2) Thailand at present is selling old rice at US$340 PER MT FOB to Africa which is an implication of greater demand for rice; and 3) Importing countries like Middle East, Indonesia, India and Africa that were affected by calamities are now buying rice in the world market including the Philippines.
Due to the increase in the number of rice importing countries, this in effect would make sales of rice in international market more competitive, the NFA said. (NFA-PIA 12) [top]