A FARMERS’ group on Thursday warned of a possible shortage in the rice supply in 2023 amid the devastation of Super Typhoon “Karding,” and the decline in the rice output due to the high cost of agriculture inputs.
In a radio interview, Federation of Free Farmers National Manager Raul Montemayor said that the damage from the super typhoon could reach P4 billion to P5 billion.
“The damage of Karding is between 5 to 10 percent of the country’s rice total production. The estimate of the Department of Agriculture (DA) is about P2 billion. But this is expected to double, since it has yet to assess all the affected areas , so we’re looking at around P4 to P5 billion,” Montemayor said.
While the rice supply is stable until the end of 2022, the buffer stock will be depleted by 2023, he said.
“Our worry is the supply for next year, the excess from 2022 will be limited. The government needs to work double time to increase the production to lessen our dependence on rice imports, which is very expensive,” Montemayor added, referring to the peso devaluation.
According to Montemayor, prior to the onslaught of Karding, the farmers were already affected by the high prices of farm inputs.
“Based on the estimate of the DA, the rice output will decline by 1 million metric tons of rice as farmers did not use enough fertilizers and pesticides because of the high cost. Others decided to limit the number of hectares they planted,” he noted. .
Montemayor said that the DA should immediately release the assistance to the farmers to start planting again.
He expects an increase in the retail price of imported rice between P3 to P4 per kilo amid the high dollar rate.
“The increase is in the imported rice because of the effect of the devaluation of the peso. We have the domestic rice that will help stabilize the prices, the more we need to improve the local production,” he said.
The DA said that at least P170.34 million worth of rice seeds will be distributed to the affected farmers.
It will also offer at least P25,000 loan assistance under the Survival and Recovery loan program from the Agricultural Credit Policy Council, which will be payable in three years at zero interest.
According to the DA, at least P500 million worth of Quick Response Fund will be allocated to rehabilitate the affected areas.