By Leonel Abasola

Mega Q Mart, Quezon City (PNA file photo by Joan Bondoc)

MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is expecting some three months’ worth of national rice stock inventory by the end of December in addition to rice supply sourced abroad, thus enough supply until the next harvest season.

“At the end we’re expecting mga (around) 85 to 90 days national stock inventory by end of December which is enough na ma-itawid natin hanggang sa susunod na (to last until) harvest season come March or April,” DA Assistant Secretary Arnel De Mesa said at the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.

Siyempre mayroon din namang import na dumarating kasi liberalized naman iyong importation natin. Based on historical data, may dumarating din na imports additional (Of course, imports are expected because out importation system is liberalized. Based on historical data, there will be additional imports) during the first quarter,” he added.

 De Mesa said the DA is expecting at least 20 million metric tons (MT) before yearend.

The country’s imports as of November have reached 3.03 million MT, lower compared to last year’s 3.5 million MT for the same period.

“Last year ang kabuuan (the total is) is 3.8 [MT]. We’re expecting this year mga (around) 3.2, 3.3 million metric tons wala pa iyong Indian rice. So, kumbaga, magkaroon lang na kaunting diprensiya, so plus matatag naman iyong ating (excluding the Indian rice. There will be a slight difference and we have stable) production,” De Mesa said.

The DA is waiting for the delivery of the 95,000 MT of Indian rice out of the 295,000 MT secured by the government.

Succeeding deliveries are expected in January, De Mesa added. (PND/PNA)