The country’s rice stock in October rose by as much as 45 percent from previous month’s level, reflecting fresh inventory from the September to October harvest season, while that of corn declined by 10 percent as the fall armyworm devastation persisted.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released the report on Thursday, showing that the country’s rice inventory hit 2.65 million metric tons (MT) as of October, higher by 16.1 percent from year-ago level and 45 percent from the previous month’s record of 1.82 million MT.
The breakdown showed that about 55 percent of the total inventory was kept in households as Filipino families stock up on staple food items to prepare for emergencies, while about 36 percent was in commercial warehouses.
The remaining 9 percent, mainly locally procured palay, was in the National Food Authority’s (NFA) warehouses.
The increase in the country’s rice stocks, however, was expected, as the harvest season runs from September to October. This was boosted by the arrival of imported rice.
Compared to inventories from the month prior, stocks in households, commercial and NFA segments rose by 70.9 percent, 22.4 percent and 24.6 percent, respectively.
As for corn, October inventory fell by 10 percent year-on-year although it was 23.6 percent higher than the numbers in September as it hit 985,000 MT.
The local corn industry has been struggling with containing the spread of the fall armyworm, which is seen to decimate about 20 percent of the country’s annual corn output if left untreated.
A corn supply shortfall may lead to higher meat prices, as it is a key raw material in animal feeds production.
The effect of the crop pest will be reflected in the next month’s report, which is expected to show the 1.6 million tons of harvest that were lost. The fall armyworm has affected 2.5 million hectares of land in 57 provinces.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar has assured consumers of ample rice supply, but as for corn, stakeholders remain wary.
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