Rice supply adequate until mid-2009

Despite reported claims by the International Rice Research Institute that rice supply may falter this year, the National Food Authority (NFA) insisted Monday the rice supply is adequate until at least mid-2009.

NFA spokesman Rex Estoperez said their inventory now has some 940,000 metric tons of rice, even as they are now estimating how much they will import for “food security” purposes.

“Ang IRRI forecast niyan global, pag global lahat na bansa may projection sila. Pero dito sa atin sa ngayon meron tayong 940,000 metric tons. Yan ay tatagal hanggang kalagitnaan nitong taon natin [The IRRI forecast is global, so it has projections for countries. But here we have 940,000 metric tons, enough to last us until the middle of this year],” Estoperez said in an interview on dzXL radio.

He said they are now preparing for the “lean months” that will start July by monitoring the inventory and making sure the poor have access to subsidized rice.

Estoperez said the NFA plans to import rice for food security, but this will likely be less than the 1.5 million metric tons forecast last year.

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