Woman and child through traffic in Makati City
IN A SURPRISE MOVE yesterday, the government announced it would hold a tender for another 600,000 metric tons of rice on Dec. 8, just a week after an earlier auction for the same amount scheduled on Dec. 1.
This would bring the total rice the Philippines has moved to import to secure its 2010 stocks to 1.45 million MT, so far, which includes the 250,000 MT supply auctioned off last Nov. 4.
The three tranches of imports are expected to arrive between January and May next year.
The National Food Authority (NFA) said in a newspaper advertisement on Monday that sources for the Dec. 8 tender “shall be Thailand, Vietnam, China, Pakistan, Australia, United States and India.”
The world’s biggest rice buyer has turned aggressive in its purchases after it lost as much as 1.3 million MT of palay from strong typhoons that successively struck rice-growing areas in Luzon since late-September.
The House committee on agriculture wants to know what it is, and the panel is launching an investigation.
Resolution 966, authored by Nueva Ecija Rep. Edno Joson, prompted the inquiry.
Joson said he has been receiving complaints from hundreds of farmers in his province about what they described as their “bansot” or undersized rice crops.
He said the problems began when farmers started using the hybrid seed SL-8, which the Department of Agriculture (DA) is distributing under its Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) program.
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Corn, however, rose by just 3.7% in the same period, the same data showed.
Rice inventory last month reached 2.638 million metric tons, compared to the 2.172 MMT recorded in the same month last year, but 11% less than the 2.954 MMT in December.
This is enough to meet the country’s requirement for 80 days, based on the estimated daily consumption of 33,100 MT of rice. Rice stocks in households, which account for nearly half the nation’s stocks, actually dropped 6.2% year-on-year and 13.8% from the December level. Similarly, commercial warehouses reported a year-on-year 7.1% drop in stocks to 425,100 MT in January.
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A team of scientists in the Philippines has launched an ambitious project to alter the way rice grows and greatly increase yields of the crop, a daily staple for almost half the world’s people. With prices soaring and population increasing, experts say increasing the yield – the amount of rice that can be produced from a fixed amount of land – will be crucial to feeding the planet’s poor in the years to come.
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