THE Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said the national rice inventory was 1,520.76 thousand metric tons at the start of August, down 25.01% from a year earlier and down 23.61% from a month earlier.
The PSA said on a year-on-year basis rice inventories declined across the board, including a 0.26% drop in stocks held by households, a 42.51% decline in commercial inventories, and a 6.94% drop in rice held by the National Food Authority (NFA).
On a month-on-month basis, household rice stocks fell 24.79% and commercial holdings declined 28.77%. NFA inventories were up 100%.
PSA said rice held by households accounted for 49.08% of the national total, while commercial warehouses held 44.27%, and the NFA 6.65%.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said high prices of commercial rice were caused by a delay in the procurement of rice by the NFA. The depletion of NFA inventories helped drive low-cost rice off the market, emboldening commercial dealers to raise prices and creating a political crisis for the government, because the NFA is expected to service the food requirements of the poor.
“We had a request to import as early as October last year, but this was not approved, which is why NFA rice disappeared from the market,” Mr. Piñol said.
He also expects the supply of rice to be tight next year with China projected to import 5% of its requirements.
Corn stocks rose 75.45% year-on-year to 1,221.91 thousand MT at the start of August, the PSA said.
Driving the increase was the 89.44% increase in inventory held by commercial warehouses, which offset the 15.9% decline in corn held by households.
Month-on-month, corn stocks held by households rose 16.51% and tripled in commercial warehouses. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio