LAOAG CITY, Sept. 22 — In times of emergency, the province of Ilocos Norte can depend on a 30-day buffer stock of rice, according to the National Food Authority (NFA).
NFA provincial economist Roselyn Pante said the province has 200,000 bags of palay and 20,000 bags of rice in its warehouses, as of September 16, 2011.
“This volume is equivalent to more than 30-days buffer stock of rice for the province,” Pante said. Ilocos Norte, being a ‘surplus province’ has only a 2-day stock of rice requirement.
Pante however admitted that typhoon Mina which hit the province has affected rice production, particularly in the towns of Solsona, Marcos, Dingras, but “since we are a surplus province, we still have enough supply of rice.”
The volume of rice the province has, when added to the rice stock nationwide will provide a 60-day buffer stock for rice for the entire Philippines.
NFA Special Assistant to the Adminstrator Atty. Gilbert Lauengco said the volume of rice the country has on hand “can last up to December” to supply our average daily requirement of 35,000 metric tons (MT).
Lauengco said the NFA, also known as the state grains agency as mandated by law, can readily cover at least 30 days rice demand on its own.
He said the NFA’s rice stock is around one million MT, which the agency maintains in its warehouses nationwide at any given time.
At the same time, he said that current rice productions all over the country, in addition to the total rice inventory of private suppliers, can extend the buffer to last a full month.
Aside from ensuring the country’s food security, he said that NFA’s rice stocks also help stabilize current rice prices by preventing price manipulations by some unscrupulous traders.
The Philippines, based on the agency’s data, is the world’s largest importer of rice in 2010 after ordering a record 2.45 million MT.
However, due to agricultural measures implemented by the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III, the country’s rice importation volume is expected to at least halve this year (ANL/CPC-PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)