Agriculture Dept.: No rice shortage during crisis period

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 1) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has assured the public there is enough supply of rice to see the country though the enhanced community quarantine period.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar allayed fears of a rice shortage on Wednesday's Laging Handa briefing, saying current stocks are more than enough.

"Ang national rice inventory as of March 2020 ay good for 75 days. By the end of June 2020, mayroon po tayong national rice inventory na good for 67 days. Sapat na sapat po," he said.

[Translation: The national rice inventory as of March 2020 is good for 75 days. By the end of June 2020, we will have a national rice inventory that will be good for 67 days. This is more than enough.]

Dar also said there was still a balance of supply from rice ordered by the private sector.

"Ang naorder na sa iba't-ibang bansa, tatlong bansa ito, ay 1.3 million metric tons. Inorder ng private sector na importers. To mention also, ang nakarating na na imported rice na ang pribadong sektor nag-import ay almost 500,000 metric tons," said Dar.

[Translation: The rice ordered from three different countries total 1.3 million metric tons. This was ordered by private sector importers. To mention also, 500,000 metric tons have already arrived.]

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles had said the government would import rice if the situation brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak warrants it.

“If necessary, we will import an additional 300,000 metric tons of rice through government to government arrangements with ASEAN trading partners and/or from all sources including India and Pakistan at the ASEAN tariff,” Nograles earlier said.

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