Rice stocks adequate say millers

RICE millers still have stocks in their warehouses to cover much of the demand until September, according to Philippine Confederation of Grains Associations (Philcongrains) president Herculano “Joji” Co.

Co pointed out that the country must pray for good weather before the main harvest this year to assure the market of a better supply.

Heavy rains in October might affect planting, he said, and added the weather disturbances in the past few months had caused a one-month delay in the harvest, which translates to thinner inventories.

Co added that millers will not hold on to their stocks since rice is a sensitive commodity that loses its quality six months after milling.

It can be recalled that Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said even if the country is compelled to import rice, the volume would be lower.

Some officials hastily added that it could be half the volume transacted by the previous management of the department.

Government should provide additional incentives for them, the millers say.

They added that the regime of high importations acts as brake to many of those who were earlier poised to buy more efficient milling equipment. High import volumes also depress palay prices.

Lack of calibration in the importation of grain, as when rice stocks from Vietnam come during the harvest season, would flood the market with rice and reduce the margins of farmers and millers alike.

Alcala and Agriculture Undersecretary for field operations Joel Rudinas are also battling to distribute certified seeds in upland and unirrigated lowland areas in order to increase yields between 15 and 20 percent.

Alcala and Rudinas hope to substantially reduce imports and meet the deadline for ending rice importations in 2013 by expanding the areas planted to rice. Ian Go

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