DA: Rice prices expected to stabilize as harvest begins

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 10) — The prices of palay and rice may stabilize soon as over 5 million metric tons (MT) of the grain are expected to be harvested from September to October, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Sunday.

The DA said 2.3 million MT and 2.9 million MT are expected to be harvested in September and October, respectively. These are based on the Philippine Rice Information System estimates as of Aug. 14, said Agriculture Undersecretary Leo Sebastian.

"In all, for the second semester, or July to December, we estimate to produce more than 11 million metric tons, and barring strong typhoons in the remaining months of the year, we hope to hit the 20 million MT level for 2023 national palay output," he added.

The bulk of the 2.3 million MT harvest for September will be from the following provinces:

Isabela (419,000+ MT), Cagayan (172,000+ MT), Iloilo (148,000+ MT), Nueva Ecija (137,000+ MT), North Cotabato (95,000+ MT), Leyte (91,000+ MT), Oriental Mindoro (77,000+ MT), Camarines Sur (76,000+ MT), Palawan (73,000+ MT), Bukidnon (61,000+ MT), Zamboanga del Sur (55,000+ MT), and Davao del Norte (52,000+ MT).

For October, 2.9 million MT are seen to be harvested from the following provinces:

Nueva Ecija (440,000+ MT), Pangasinan (258,000+ MT), Tarlac (172,000+ MT), Isabela (163,000+ MT), Occidental Mindoro (153,000+ MT), Cagayan (151,000+ MT), Oriental Mindoro (110,000+ MT), Palawan (90,000+ MT), Bulacan (74,000+ MT), Iloilo (74,000+ MT), Bukidnon (69,000+ MT), Agusan del Sur (61,000+ MT), Ilocos Sur (59,000+ MT), Leyte (55,000+ MT), and Camarines Sur (53,000+ MT).

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has allayed worries about rice supply, saying prices would stabilize with the coming harvest season.

At the beginning of the month, the Marcos administration started implementing a rice price cap to give the public some reprieve from soaring prices of the grain.

The government also started giving subsidy to small-scale rice retailers affected by the price ceiling.

To further strengthen rice production, Sebastian said that for the 2023-2024 dry season, the DA would continue providing clustered rice farmers with needed high-yielding seeds, fertilizers, biofertilizers, soil ameliorants, farm machinery, and extension, financial, and marketing support.

"Initially, we will focus on fully irrigated clustered farms to optimize palay yield, where farmers would plant high-yielding hybrid rice varieties, to at least one million hectares, and we expect them to produce an average of six to eight MT per hectare, for a total of 6 to 8 MMT," he added.