Rice inventory up in November

The country’s rice inventory went up in November last year  as volume of the main staple was boosted by the main harvest season.

Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that total rice inventory stood at 3.16 million metric tons (MT) as of November, up 6.6 percent from the previous year’s volume of 2.96 million MT.

The current inventory is also 19 percent higher than the  previous month’s volume stock of 2.65 million MT.

Based on the average daily consumption of Filipinos of 32,000 MT, the current inventory is sufficient for 99 days.

Households had more than half of total inventories at 57.3 percent, while commercial warehouses held about 30.5 percent. Supplies from the National Food Authority depositories cornered 12.2 percent of the total.

On a monthly basis, rice stocks across all sectors showed increments in inventories.

Households, commercial, and NFA depositories increased by 25 percent, one percent and 61 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, prices of Filipinos’ main staple continued to be on the downward trend year-on-year.

According to the PSA,  the average wholesale price of well-milled rice is now at P37.42 per kilogram as of the second week of December.

This is 0.2 percent lower than the P37.50 per kilo level from a week ago, but 0.9 percent higher on a yearly basis.

Its average retail price also decreased by 0.9 percent to P41.01 per kilo, while week-on-week prices decreased by 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the wholesale price of regular-milled rice was P33.46 per kilo, down 0.1 percent, while its average retail price was P36.21 a kilo.

Local farmers, on the other hand, continued to see a steady increase in farmgate prices for several weeks already.

The average farmgate price of palay rose by 1.1 percent to P16.14 per kilo. It also picked up 2.2 percent from the P15.79 per kilo year-on-year.

Meanwhile, the local agriculture sector has the potential to grow significantly this year, but government support and sustained investments are needed to transform and contribute more to economic recovery.

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) said the overall outlook for the farm sector is generally positive, banking on a more aggressive integrated intervention from the government bolstered by heightened private sector engagement.

“We remain hopeful that 2021 is a year when the agriculture sector will significantly grow, and truly become an instrument for socio-economic transformation that centers on the well-being of the farmers,” Searca director Glenn Gregorio said.