MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino on Friday said the government will import more rice to counter hoarding and meet growing demand.
In a media interview, President Aquino said already 25 percent of total volume of rice imports has arrived to ensure the country has enough buffer stock for the lean season of July.
The government earlier approved the importation of some 800,000 MT rice, of which 200,000 MT already arrived.
“Meron rin yatang nagsasamantala at ulitin ko, suspicion ito, na bagamat kumpleto ang supply wala kang nakikitang palengke na walang naibebenta…So ang resulta kahapon, nagkadesisyon na mag-i-import tayong dagdag na bigas,” he said.
Presidential Adviser on Food Security and Agriculture Modernization Secretary Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, in a text message to the Philippines News Agency, divulged that the government is looking at an additional 200,000 MT rice import.
He said the additional import of the food staple may arrive July to August this year.
President Aquino stressed that the country is importing more rice to offset those being hoarded.
“Umangat ang rice production ng four percent pero tila umangat ang consumption ng five percent so may diperensiya ng one percent, at medyo malaki-laki ang one percent na ‘yon,” he said.
To mitigate the impact of imports, President Aquino said the government has allotted fund that will be used to support the farmers especially when the imported rice will be delivered.
Further, the Chief Executive also directed the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to use satellite imagery that will determine areas in the country where rice is planted.
“Gagawa ka na ng program na nagsasabing sa ganitong lugar ganito ang average. Magkakaroon tayo ng mas up-to-date saka real time na ‘yung estimate sa ating potensyal na harvest para mas guided rin kung ilan ba talaga kailangan nating i-import,” he added.