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Rice supply deemed sufficient despite typhoons — Dar

AGRICULTURE Secretary William D. Dar said the rice inventory is sufficient until the end of the year despite widespread crop damage caused by consecutive typhoons.

In a television interview Thursday, Mr. Dar said at the end of the year, the rice inventory will be good for 82 days’ demand despite the damage sustained by the agriculture sector.

“The current supply will bring us another 82 days’ worth of rice (starting) January 2021. After that, we will have new production that can be harvested by late March and April,” Mr. Dar said in an interview on ANC.

Mr. Dar said combined damage to the agriculture sector due to typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses amounted to P12.3 billion.

“The three most affected regions are Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), and Bicol,” Mr. Dar said.

As a result of the typhoon damage, Mr. Dar said the rice self-sufficiency rate fell to 90%, which means that 10% of rice demand must be sourced overseas in 2021.

“When you are only able to produce 90% of your requirement for rice, you always have to import the rest of that from other countries,” Mr. Dar said.

“That’s a given because we are not able to produce 100% of our rice requirement,” he added.

Asked when farmers can replant after the storm damage, Mr. Dar said replanting can start by the second of week of December, assuming no more typhoons for the rest of the year.

Mr. Dar said the Department of Agriculture (DA) has prepared almost P8 billion worth of agricultural inputs such as seed, fertilizer, and fingerlings for typhoon-affected farmers and fish farms.

He added that P1 billion worth of indemnification is available from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp., for insured farmers listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture.

The DA estimates that crop damage due to Typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni) is at P3.84 billion, with rice accounting for about half of the losses at P1.93 billion. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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