Better data on rice inventory sought

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    Despite assurances by government of ample rice supply, the Philippine Rice Industry Stakeholders’ Movement (PRISM) said a better system of tracking inventory will curb farmer losses and ensure sufficiency post-disasters.

    PRISM in a statement over the weekend urged government to draw up an accessible updated data on rice stock to help the entire value chain in assessing the supply situation especially following the string of destructive typhoons.

    The group said the lack of real-time and updated rice stock inventory by the Philippine Statistics Authority and the Department of Agriculture (DA) leaves the rice industry “at a loss” on how to make projections and plans for recovery such as project planting intention, sales and purchases.

    “Previously, rice stock situation data was being provided by the National Food Authority but with Rice Tariffication Law and open market regime, the sector is now blind in navigating the real status of the domestic inventory and market forecast especially at the outset of the COVID-19 (new coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic and the recent calamities,” the group said.

    The group’s members share data among themselves but the information gathered is not sufficient.

    PRISM also said the DA should allow the Bureau of Plant Industry to resume the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance (SPSIC) for rice imports to ensure timely arrivals in case of shortfall in local supply.